Arraignment in Pinellas County
After the arrest for a felony or misdemeanor in Pinellas County, FL, a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office in Clearwater, will typically take 21 days to decide whether to proceed with the prosecution. During that time, the prosecutor can file more serious charges, less serious charges, or no charges.
Unless the charges are dropped during that time period, you will receive notice from the clerk’s office about the arraignment hearing.
The notice will tell you the charge or charges pending against you, the Case Number, and the Division in which the case is assigned. If you know the Division in which the case is assigned, then you can determine which judge in Pinellas County will preside over the case.
The notice will tell you to report to the Pinellas County Justice Center 14250 49th Street North Clearwater, Florida 33762, for the arraignment in a specific courtroom, on a specific date and time.
At the arraignment hearing for the domestic violence charges, the court will:
- advise you of the charge pending against you;
- allow you to enter a “not guilty” plea; and
- ask you whether you want to represent yourself, ask for a public defender to be appointed to represent you, or hire a private attorney at your own expense.
Attorney for a Misdemeanor Arraignment Hearing in Pinellas County
If you plan on retaining a private attorney to represent you on the case, you should strive to hire the attorney prior to arraignment. If you have already hired a private attorney before the arraignment, then the attorney will typically file a written plea of not guilty and give you express written permission to be excused from attending the arraignment.
In fact, the notice tells you that if you are represented by an attorney, you should contact your attorney regarding the notice.
If your private attorney doesn’t waive your appearance, then you must appear. If you fail to appear as required by the court notice and are not currently in custody, then the court will issue a warrant for your arrest, and your Release-On-Recognizance (ROR) will be revoked or your surety or cash bond will be estreated.
This article was last updated on Friday, December 13, 2019.