Bond Hearings, Arraignments, and Beyond: What to Expect at Every Step of Your Case.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you are probably struggling to keep on top of all of the lingo associated with your case. What is a bond hearing? How is it different from an arraignment? What is this “calendar call” thing your attorney keeps talking about? Facing a criminal charge can seem overwhelming, so here is a brief overview of some of the phrases you may encounter during the process to help you better understand what is happening.
First, let’s start with a bond hearing. A bond hearing is a hearing that you’ll have within 48 hours of being arrested, although it’s sometimes possible to post a bond before going to court. Oftentimes, if you are arrested for a misdemeanor, you may be given what is known as a Promise To Appear (PTA) instead of being taken into custody. A PTA is exactly what it sounds like: you promise to appear in court to discuss your bond. Make no mistake though, even though police may never have put you in handcuffs, a “promise to appear” IS still an arrest and will show up on your record.
If you are arrested and do not post a bond, or if the crime you are charged with is a domestic violence charge or felony, you will attend a bond hearing. With a bond hearing, you are brought before a judge within 48 hours of your arrest, and during this hearing the terms of your release will be negotiated. Most often, you are given a monetary bond to satisfy, and so long as you post (pay) the amount due (or some percentage of the total) you will be released.
The next step is your arraignment. Typically, this is a hearing that occurs anywhere from twenty to forty days after your arrest. At an arraignment, the state’s attorney advises you and the court what charges (if any) are being filed against you, and this is when the state can decide whether to reduce your charges, ask the court for more time to determine which charges they want to file, or announce that they are not going to file any charges.
If the state decides to file charges, then next step is usually what is known as a calendar or sounding call. At this hearing, the prosecution and the defense both discuss whether they are ready to go to trial. This is the opportunity for either side to request a little more time to prepare their case, and it is also an opportunity where the parties can announce that they have reached a plea agreement, if that has been negotiated.
Finally, the last step is a trial, which is where your case is heard by a judge or jury. It is important to understand that oftentimes, there are many cases which are scheduled to go to trial on a given day, and that there is a chance your case many not be selected for that day. If it is not, your case will be rescheduled for a different trial day. At a trial, your case can also be dismissed if the prosecution is not ready to proceed, or it can be resolved by a plea agreement.
A criminal case can be confusing, but the attorneys at Valiente Law can help. Our experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys have helped many clients navigate the hearing and trial process. Contact us today.
Posted in: Criminal