When you’re arrested, you go to jail obviously. You have a bond. If you don’t make bond right away, then you go before the court the next day. If it’s a holiday, you go before the court at nine in the morning. If it’s not a holiday, it’s at 1:15 PM.
People can watch it on TV. If you go to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office live feed, you’re able to watch the in court appearances and you can see what the bonds are set at, then you go to arraignment and you’re told what charges are filed against you. If charges aren’t filed within a certain amount of time, you can be released from jail without having to post a bond. The state has a certain amount of time in order to file charges; it varies depending on the type of charges.
If the state files charges, then you go to what’s called early resolution. If it’s a felony, that’s your first opportunity to have a plea offer from the state – supposed to be the best offer they give, but not always. If it’s a misdemeanor, you go to docket sounding. After early resolution, you can go to docket sounding so that’s when felony and misdemeanor court become the same. You go to docket sounding and that’s where your attorney or yourself, but usually yourself, goes to the court and says “ready for plea, ready for trial, or we need to continue the case for a reason?” After that, you can, at some point in time, set the case for a plea or set it for trial, and then go to trial.
In felony court, after docket sounding, if you say you’re ready for trial, it goes to calendar call, and that’s when all the cases that are ready for trial come up, and that’s usually your last time to plea. Judges have been getting pretty hard and saying if you don’t take the plea offer today, then the only choice, the day of trial, is to plea to court, and that’s to try and wean out the true trial cases and the ones that are just stalling, then your case is resolved.
In the meantime, there can be several different hearings – it could be bound hearing, motion to suppress, motions in limine, child hearsay hearings on child cases, motion to lift no contact orders. There’s all sorts of different motions that can happen in the meantime, but that’s the basic path that all cases go through.