Florida law mandates that when an accused person is arrested and taken to jail, they must appear at a hearing before a judge within one day if they are not bonded out of jail. This hearing is called first appearance. (Some counties may use other wording as such as initial appearance.) At this appearance the judge will review the case and address the matter of the defendant’s bail.
One or more of the following events may happen at the first appearance hearing.
1. A monetary bail amount will be set for a defendant who was arrest and held with no bond.
2. A previously set monetary bail may be revoked and the defendant will receive a no bond status.
3. The monetary bail amount may be raised, lowered, or remain the same.
4. The defendant may be placed on supervised release (SPR). In this case the defendant must report regularly to the pretrial staff until their case is disposed, and may sometimes be required to comply with special court ordered conditions. These conditions could be random urinalysis, drug and alcohol evaluations, AA/NA meetings, curfews, etc.
5. Defendants with significant ties to the community and who do not pose a flight risk, may be released on their own recognizance (ROR) and be allowed to return to court without any monetary responsibility.
First appearance should not be confused with the arraignment. In most cases a defendant will not plea at the first appearance hearing.