Frequently Asked Questions

1 Where can I find more information about my local Courthouse?
2 What are my rights before I'm arrested?
3 When can the police conduct a search of my property?
4 When do the police have to read me my rights?
5 Alternative Sentencing
6 Appeal
7 Arraignment
8 Bail
9 Jail Information

Where can I find more information about my local Courthouse?

Phone: 407-836-2060
Address: 425 N. Orange Avenue
P.O. Box 4994
Orlando, FL 32801
Visit The Official Clerk's Office Site.

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What are my rights before I'm arrested?

You have the right not to incriminate yourself, which is also known as the right to remain silent.

You have the right to be free of "unreasonable search and seizure," though there are various regulations and exceptions that accompany that right.

You have the right to an attorney. We will get you in touch with a criminal defense attorney who can make sure that you understand your rights. It's important to note, however, that your right to an attorney does not necessarily apply to your decision as to whether to take or refuse a Breathalyzer or blood alcohol test.

You also have the right to be advised by police about these rights, commonly called Miranda Rights

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When can the police conduct a search of my property?

There are rules and regulations that surround police searches. The police can search your home, property, car, or financial records if they have probable cause to believe that they'll find evidence of a crime, and therefore receive a search warrant issued by a judge.

But in some situations, the police can also conduct a search without a warrant. If, for example, a potential piece of evidence is sitting out in the open, where there is "no reasonable expectation of privacy," then the police aren't required to have a search warrant to conduct a search. They also don't need a warrant if you voluntarily agree to a search. Many people have let the police search when they didn't have to, because they didn't know they had the right to refuse. It is easy to misstep and hurt your case, but a criminal defense attorney will be able to give you the explicit details of search and seizure laws as they pertain to your case.

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When do the police have to read me my rights?

If you are a suspect, the police are required to read you your Miranda rights before conducting a custodial interrogation. What exactly constitutes "custodial interrogation" has been the subject of many court cases, and is more complicated than you might expect. Clearly, not all discussion between the police and a suspect is "interrogation." Some discussions are different than interrogation, like the kind of simple practical interaction that might occur between police and a suspect to ask if he wants something to drink, for example. The police don't need to read a suspect his or her rights at this point. However, in some circumstances a police officer may be found to have interrogated a suspect in custody even without asking direct questions.

Once a custodial interrogation begins, the police must read the suspects his or her rights and ensure that they are understood. A criminal defense attorney in your area can.

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Alternative Sentencing

If you feel your arrest was caused by alcohol, drug or mental problems, tell your attorney. Some judicial circuits have an Alternative Sentencing Program which may help you get into a special treatment program. Your involvement in a treatment program may help in getting leniency from the prosecutor and the judge. Additionally, some judicial circuits have special courts, called Drug Court, designed to handle such cases.

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If you are convicted and want to appeal your case, you must do so within 30 days after sentencing. You usually have no right to an appeal from a plea of guilty or nolo contendere if the sentence you receive is a legal one. An appeal will only help you if the judge did not follow the law, or if you were prevented from properly exercising all your rights. You or your attorney must advise the Appellate Court exactly how the judge did not follow the law or what rights you were denied before the Appellate Court will reverse a conviction. If your case is appealed, the judge may allow your release on bail until a final decision is reached. The judge will only do this if he or she believes you have a good reason for appealing and believes you will re-appear in court, however, you do not have an automatic right to bail when appealing. If you wish to appeal your case, you should discuss this matter with your attorney as soon as possible. In no event should you wait more than 30 days before contacting your attorney.

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After your first appearance, an arraignment will be scheduled in your case at that time. The arraignment is not a trial. At most arraignments your charges are read to you and the judge again will determine if an attorney from the Public Defender's Office will represent you. Your attorney will enter a plea for you, if the plea is one of not guilty, your attorney will request either a jury trial or a trial before only the judge.

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Bail is intended to guarantee that you will appear for your scheduled court appearance. You do not have a right to bail if you are charged with a crime that carries a penalty of either life imprisonment or death. This may include murder, sexual battery, kidnapping, burglary or robbery. To lower the amount of bail or to have the court set bail, the judge must be convinced that you will be in court when notified to be there. You may be asked several questions, such as whether you have a family living in the area, whether you are working, whether you have been allowed out on bail before and appeared in court on time, where you live and whether you have a criminal record.

If the court finds that you are not charged with a serious crime, that you will appear when required in court, or that you have a responsible person in the community who will guarantee your appearance in court, the judge may release you without bail. This is called release on your own recognizance. Your attorney may subsequently file a motion for reduction of bail if the bail in your case seems high in view of the charge or if the evidence against you is slight.

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Jail Information

P.O. Box 4970
Orlando, FL 32802
Phone: 407.836.4300

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