How Long Can You Be Held in Jail Without Seeing a Judge?

One of the first things people who have been arrested want to know is how long they can be held in jail without seeing a judge. Florida law provides that arrestees must have their first appearance, also referred to as an “advisory,” with a judge within 24 hours following their booking. However, officers may detain you for a few additional hours, depending on what the cutoff time is for the particular county where your arrest occurred.

If you or a loved one has recently been arrested, call Goldman Wetzel straightaway and ask to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys. When you enlist our help early enough, we can attend the first appearance for you and challenge the arrest or ensure you get fair bond terms. Call our St. Petersburg office at 727-828-3900 for immediate assistance.

Will I Have to Spend More Time in Jail if I Am Arrested on a Weekend/Holiday?

No. If your arrest fell on a weekend or holiday, the 24-hour provision still applies. Your first appearance should still be within that window.

That being said, there is still a caveat. Each jail has a booking cut-off for the arrestees to make that day’s advisories. In Pinellas County for example, the cut-off is 6:00 a.m. If officers book you by 6:00 a.m., you will go to that day’s advisory hearing. If officers book you after 6:00 a.m., you will attend a first appearance on the following day, which could be outside of the 24-hour window. For instance, if officers do not begin the booking process until 6:15 a.m., your first appearance could be as late as the afternoon of the following day.

The advisory schedules vary from county to county. In Pinellas County, the courts have three separate advisory sessions each regular weekday:

  • 8:00 a.m. – Advisories for misdemeanors
  • 10:30 a.m. – Advisories for domestic violence misdemeanor
  • 1:30 p.m. – Advisories for all felonies

On weekends and holidays, the court holds all advisories at 8:00 a.m.

What Happens at the First Appearance with the Judge?

First appearances have three primary objectives:

1) Determine if Probable Cause Exists. The judge will review the facts of the case, presented by the state and your counsel, and determine if the government has sufficient probable cause for arresting you.

2) The Judge Will Explain Your Rights. Per Rule 3.130(b), the judge must advise you of three specific rights you have:

  1. You have the right to remain silent. The state may use anything you say against you.
  2. You have the right to counsel. If you are unable to afford counsel, the state will provide you a public defender.
  3. You have “the right to communicate with counsel, family, or friends, and if necessary, will be provided reasonable means to do so.”

3) Determine the Terms of Bond. The judge will set the terms of pretrial release (bond) and explain the terms thereof. Rule 3.131 notes: “Unless charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great, every person charged with a crime or violation of municipal or county ordinance shall be entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions.”

Who Will Attend My First Appearance?

Florida mandates that the following parties attend each arrestee’s first appearance:

  1. You, the defendant;
  2. The state attorney or an assistant state attorney; and
  3. A public defender, an assistant public defender, or a private defense attorney that you have retained.

If you do not have a lawyer yet, if you tell the judge that you wish to hire one and are financially capable of doing so, the judge will either appoint you a public defender to represent you at the first appearance (after which time, we can take over), or postpone the hearing until you have secured representation.

The Rule states: “The judge shall allow the defendant a reasonable time to send for counsel and shall, if necessary, postpone the first appearance hearing for that purpose. The judge shall also, on request of the defendant, require an officer to communicate a message to such counsel as the defendant may name.” The officer must do so “with diligence and without cost to the defendant.”

Arrested in Pinellas County? Call Goldman Wetzel for Immediate Help.

If you have recently been arrested, contact our office for help with your case. For over 30 combined years, our defense attorneys have navigated the criminal justice system.

Summer Goldman started her career as a prosecutor, so she knows how the other side thinks. Maribeth Wetzel has spent her entire career helping people charged with all types of misdemeanor and felony charges in both state and federal courts. We can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights in the process.

After listening to your side of the story and reviewing your file, we can attend your first hearing with you, advise you of your rights, and explain your legal options. We might be able to deter the state from formally filing charges or at least present arguments regarding the terms of your release or the nature of the charges being brought against you. Contact us at 727-828-3900.