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First Appearance Court in Pasco County, FL

Labor Day Update:

The courthouses in the Sixth Judicial Circuit will be closed Monday, September 7th, 2020, in observance of Labor Day. The court will still be conducting first-appearance advisory hearings on Monday as required by law.

On Labor Day, first appearances in Pasco County will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the advisory room at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center, 38053 Live Oak Avenue, in Dade City.

COVID-19 Update:

First appearance advisory hearings occur each day at 9:00 a.m., at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City, even during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. You can confirm the location and time of the first appearance advisory by calling the booking division at the jail or by calling the State Attorney Dispatch (727-464-6221).

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Pasco County made it difficult to figure out where the first appearance advisory hearing would take place since it switches between the New Port Richey Courthouse and the Dade City Courthouse.

One way to figure it out is by looking at the website for the Sixth Judicial Circuit’s administrative order that lists the judge scheduled for the first appearance advisory.

As a general rule, if the judge covering (first appearance) advisories is assigned to the West Pasco Government Center, advisories will be at that location in New Port Richey, FL. East Pasco judges typically conduct advisory hearings in the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, FL.

In Pasco County, FL, a judge appears for the first appearance court 364 days a year, even on a weekend or holiday.

Attorney for First Appearance Court in Pasco County, FL

After an arrest, your first appearance might be at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL. With offices conveniently located across from the courthouse at the West Pasco Judicial Center, we are here to help.

An experienced criminal defense attorney in New Port Richey, FL, can often save you money by asking the court to set the bond at a lower amount or simply release you on a signature bond so that no money needs to be posted.

Our attorneys also represent juveniles appearing at first appearance in Pasco County, FL, after being detained on juvenile charges.

Call (813) 250-0500 to discuss your case.

What Happens at the First Appearance Advisories in Pasco County?

What happens at first appearance advisory in Pasco County? In Pasco County, FL, the purpose of the first appearance advisory hearing is to:

  • advise the accused about the charges pending against them;
  • determine whether probable cause exists to continue to detain the person on those charges;
  • determine bail and any pre-trial release conditions; and
  • determine whether the person will retain private counsel or needs the public defender’s office to be appointed to the case.

Pursuant to Florida’s Criminal Procedure Rules 3.130 for first appearance court, after an arrest, a person is entitled to a prompt First Appearance.

In fact, except when previously released in a lawful manner, every arrested person shall be taken before a judicial officer judge, either in person or by an electronic audiovisual device in the discretion of the court, within 24 hours of arrest.

According to Rule 3.130(b), the court must give advice to the defendant at first appearance. First, the court must give Notice of the Charges and Rights.

At the defendant’s first appearance the judge shall immediately inform the defendant of the charge, including an alleged violation of probation or community control, and provide the defendant with a copy of the complaint.

The judge shall also adequately advise the defendant that:

  • the defendant is not required to say anything, and that anything the defendant says may be used against him or her;
  • if unrepresented, that the defendant has a right to counsel, and, if financially unable to afford counsel, that counsel will be appointed; and
  • the defendant has a right to communicate with counsel, family, or friends, and if necessary, will be provided reasonable means to do so.

Procedures for First Appearance Court in Pasco County, FL

The chief judge of the circuit for each county within the circuit shall designate one (1) or more judges from the circuit court, or county court, to be available for the first appearance and proceedings.

The state attorney or an assistant state attorney and public defender or an assistant public defender shall attend the first appearance proceeding either in person or by other electronic means.

First appearance hearings shall be held with adequate notice to the public defender and state attorney. An official record of the proceedings shall be maintained.

If the defendant has retained counsel or expresses a desire to and is financially able, the attendance of the public defender or assistant public defender is not required at the first appearance, and the judge shall follow the procedure outlined in subdivision (c)(2).

Juvenile Cases at First Appearance Court

In the case of a child in the custody of juvenile authorities, against whom an information or indictment has been filed, the child shall be taken for a first appearance hearing within 24 hours of the filing of the information or indictment.

For juvenile cases, it is important to have an attorney present so that the attorney can help make sure the child is released to the care of the parent instead of being held in secure detention for 21 days.

If your child has been accused of a crime, then contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney in New Port Richey, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm.

Additional Resources

Duty Judge Calendar for First Appearance Court – Visit the website of the Sixth (6th) Judicial Circuit to learn more about the duty judge calendar for first appearance court in Pasco County, FL. Learn more about why a judge is on duty on weekends and holidays from 8:30 a.m. to approximately noon at the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey or the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, FL.
38053 Live Oak Avenue, Dade City

This article was last updated on Friday, September 4, 2020.

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