Types of Hearings

Arraignment

The Arraignment in a criminal case is the first court appearance where the judge advises the defendant (individual charged with a crime) of the charges against him or her. After being advised of the charges, the defendant is required to enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. At the Arraignment, the defendant is given a copy of the charging document which is called either the information or the indictment and may also be provided with copies of police report and other evidence. The evidence disclosure is known as the discovery process.

Like most Tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys, at Pallegar Law, P.A. we typically plead not guilty on behalf of my clients and waive the arraignment resetting the case for disposition on a future date.

Disposition

In Tampa the first court date on both felony and misdemeanor cases after the Arraignment court date is called the Disposition. Typically, most judges permit more than one Disposition court date before the case is set for trial. As a general rule you get five to six Dispositions court dates before your case is set for trial.

The Case Disposition Hearing is designed to advise the court of the progress of your case. It also gives your Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney more time to participate in the discovery process by taking depositions, investigating legal issues, filing motions, etc. In many instances, the Disposition Hearings is the best opportunity your experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer has to discuss a case resolution with the prosecutor.

As a prerequisite to continuing your case for additional disposition dates, Speedy Trial must be waived. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191 permits the Defendant in a misdemeanor case to demand that his or her trial take place within 90 days for a misdemeanor case and 180 days for a felony case. By waiving your right to Speedy Trial, you are forfeiting this requirement. Although, you can file a demand for Speedy Trial in the future even if it has been previously waived.

In Pinellas County, the Disposition Hearing court date is called Pretrial. In Manatee and Sarasota County the Disposition Hearing is labeled Case Management Conferences (CMC). Both have similar rules giving the parties time to negotiate a plea deal on the case before trial.

Pretrial Hearing in Tampa

The Pretrial hearing court date is held before the trial date and sometimes before the “last call” hearing date. The “last call” is the final attempt permitted by some judges before trial to give both parties a chance to reach a resolution. Some judges, will bar plea negotiations after the “last call” hearing date.

The Pretrial hearing date in Tampa gives the parties the opportunity to advise the court of the progress of the case and resolve the case before trial.

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, contact and experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer today to protect your rights and defend you case. Call (813) 444.3912 for a free consultation. During the consultation, our attorney will outline various options to either get your case dismissed entirely or resolve your case in your best interests.

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