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First Appearance Court in Pasco County, FL

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. 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.

What happens at first appearance in court after being arrested for a crime? The purpose of first appearance court is to:

  • advise the accused about the charges pending against them;
  • determine whether probable cause exist to continue to detain the person on that charge;
  • 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.

In Pasco County, FL, a judge appears for the first appearance court 364 days a year, even on a weekend or holiday. On some days, the first appearance court is held at the courthouse in New Port Richey and on other days it is held in Dade City. 

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.


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.


Procedures for First Appearance Court in Pasco County, FL

The chief judge of the circuit for each county within the circuit shall designate 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).


What Does the Court Do at First Appearance?

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.

This article was last updated on Friday, August 10, 2018.