First Appearance Court in Pasco County, FL
Update: The courthouses in the Sixth Judicial Circuit will be closed Wednesday, October 5, 2022, in observance of Yom Kippur, for most purposes. Even on holidays, the courts are, however, still open for first-appearances on Wednesday as required by law.
First appearances in Pasco County will begin at noon in Courtroom 1A at the West Pasco Judicial Center, 7530 Little Road, in New Port Richey.
Persons planning to attend advisory hearings should confirm the location by calling State Attorney Dispatch (727.464.6221) before traveling to advisory hearings.
In Pasco County, FL, a judge appears for first appearance hearings every day of the year, even on holidays and weekends. First appearance advisory hearings typically occur each day at 8:30 a.m. The location of the first appearance alternates between the courthouses in New Port Richey and Dade City.
You can confirm the location and time of the first appearance advisory by calling the Pasco Sheriff’s Office Booking Department at (813) 235-6070, the Booking Sergeant at (813) 235-6028. or the State Attorney Dispatch at 727-464-6221.
Within 24 hours of arrest, if the defendant has not posted bond, then the defendant will appear before a judge for an Advisory Hearing called First Appearance. The hearings are conducted with the defendant appearing at the jail on video.
Pasco County makes it difficult to figure out where the first appearance advisory hearing will take place since it alternates 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. You should call to confirm because sometimes the judges switch the duty schedule at the last minute.
During the first appearance advisory hearing, the judge will the bond or other conditions for the release from jail. For this reason, a criminal defense attorney can appear on the defendant’s behalf to ask for a lower bond and more favorable conditions for release.
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 their 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 the 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 an advisement of the defendant’s 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;
- 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.
After the advisory in Pasco County, FL, the court will enter an order of commitment under Rule 3.120 CDRP. You should receive a copy when you are released from jail or you can find a copy on the docket on the Clerk of Court website.
The order of commitment explains the charges, the original bond amount, the amount the bond was reduced to, and any special conditions of release. Those special conditions might include:
- no contact with the victim
- no contact with a specific residence (although the order may give you permission to return one time with law enforcement to obtain clothing, items of personal health and hygiene, and tools of the trade)
- no alcohol
- no weapons, guns, or knives
Especially for any firearm charge, the order might also require you to surrender any concealed weapons permit to the Pasco County Sheriff.
If the judge did not find a probable cause as to one or more of the charges, then the judge might require you to return to the advisory hearings within 48 hours if the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office indicates that they intend to amend the criminal record affidavit to provide probable cause.
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).
No Contact as a Condition of Pre-Trial Release
In all domestic violence cases and for most violent crimes, the court will impose a “no contact” condition along with the other terms of pretrial release.
If a no-contact provision is imposed in your case at first appearance, then you should receive a copy of Form PSO#40500 (Rev. 11/15). The form provides:
If you have been charged with a crime where there is a victim, you are hereby notified pursuant to Florida Statute Section 903.047, that if you are released on pretrial release, you MUST:
- Comply with all conditions or pretrial release,
- Refrain from any criminal activity of any kind.
- Refrain from any contact of any type with the victim, except through pretrial discovery pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. An order of no contact is effective immediately and enforceable for the duration of the pretrial release or until it is modified by the court. The defendant shall receive a copy of the order of no contact which specifies the applicable prohibited acts before the defendant is released from custody on pretrial release. As used in this section, unless otherwise specified by the court, the term “no contact” includes the following prohibited acts:
- communicating orally or in any written form, either in person, telephonically, electronically, or in any other manner, either directly or indirectly through a third person, with the victim or any other person named in the order…
- Having physical or violent contact with the victim or other named person or his or her property.
- Being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s residence, even if the defendant and the victim or other named person share the residence.
- Being within 500 feet of the victim or other named person’s vehicle, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by such person.
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.
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 the 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.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.