The Criminal Justice Process: Moving Forward
For more information about the criminal law process in Florida state courts, please read the information below. For additional information about the various steps, follow these links:
State Attorney Hearing
An informal but crucial hearing, the state attorney hearing, takes place at the State Attorney’s Office. The defendant and his or her lawyer do not attend the hearing. An assistant state attorney takes this time to interview various witnesses in the hope of determining what is viable for use in court. Should enough evidence accumulate, there is a period of 21 days in which charges can be filed after the arrest.
Before trial, a status conference occurs. At this time, defendants are presented before the judge to advise them if they feel prepared for trial. If they do not feel ready for trial, they must submit a motion for continuance.
Pretrial Conference Hearing
One or two weeks before trial is set to take place, a pretrial conference is held. The defendant must appear in court at this time, and the final date and time of trial are set. Victims may attend the pretrial conference; however, it is not mandatory.