What steps should I take if I get a notice to appear?
Florida law allows law enforcement officers to issue a “Notice to Appear.” The notice will contain specific information including the name and identifying information of the person being charged, the reason the officer has for believing a crime was committed and the information needed to schedule your court appearance.
Notice To Appear Compliance
A notice to appear may be issued in lieu of a physical arrest. Make no mistake – the officer has arrested you! While a judge issues a summons to court, Mitigating conditions that may result in an officer issuing a notice to appear versus physically putting you in a jail cell include:
- Whether you have prior convictions
- Whether you have appeared in court previously
- Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
It is important to remember that if you receive a notice to appear, you are facing criminal prosecution. You must schedule a court appearance and appear in front of a county court judge. If you fail to appear or set a court date a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Once you receive a notice to appear, contact a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville immediately to review the charges against you and determine the best course of action.
Why Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
After receiving a notice to appear you should contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to help defend against the charges you are facing. Keep in mind, there are specific steps we take once you have been issued the Notice to Appear including:
- Contacting Prosecutor– In some cases, we can work with the prosecutor to fight the charges and get them dropped before you are required to appear in court.
- Potential referral for a diversionary – Some charges may be dismissed by determining if you are eligible for a Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) Program which will allow you an opportunity to have the charges dismissed once you have completed the program requirements. PTI is not automatic for first time offenders. We often gave to fight to convince the State of Florida to refer your case to the PTI program.
- Case Resolution– Early negotiations may allow us to resolve the case before the judge which can mean only a fine and help you avoid more serious outcomes including conviction, jail time or probation.
If you have received a notice to appear, contact the Law Office of James Davis at 904.358.0420 immediately. We will work hard to mitigate the circumstances of this arrest and may be able to have the charges against you dismissed or significantly reduced.