How the Florida State Criminal Process Begins

By Lowry Law Firm | Posted on October 23, 2014

The criminal process in Florida State courts begins with either a summons (notice to appear), like a traffic ticket or citation for petit theft, an arrest, or law enforcement bringing probable cause allegations directly to the State attorney’s office, called a “direct file”. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your charges and determine the best way to fight them. We will sit down with you for a free consultation and discuss your rights and possible outcomes to help you understand the entire process.

The different types of offenses in Florida are traffic infractions (i.e., speeding tickets), criminal traffic (i.e., driving on a suspended license), misdemeanors and felonies. For traffic infractions, the driver will receive a ticket with the option to either pay the fine listed or plead not guilty and contest it. If the allegation is speeding and the driver was cited going at least 20 mph over the limit a court appearance may be mandatory. For criminal traffic charges, the officer can either arrest the driver or give him a notice to appear in court. For misdemeanors such as battery (unwanted touching of another) or petit theft (theft in value less than $300), the officer can as well either arrest the suspect or give him a notice to appear. Most other misdemeanors and all felonies begin with an arrest or direct file.

If you or someone you love has been cited or arrested for anything, contact criminal attorney Mark Lowry immediately to help understand the criminal process and how to move forward. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.