Notice to Appear

Notice to Appear in Tampa, FL

What Is a Notice to Appear? How Will It Affect Me?

A Notice to Appear simplifies the court attendance process for those charged with lesser crimes. In essence, a Notice allows an officer to avoid arresting and jailing the defendant before their court hearing. This is especially helpful for criminal activities such as shoplifting or trespassing. Even though Notices to Appear are more convenient for everyone involved, they're only given for certain offenses.

In Florida, Notices to Appear are issued in limited circumstances, such as:

  • You are charged with a misdemeanor or minor violation.
  • You have not failed to respond to previous notice.
  • You are deemed likely to appear on the court date.
  • There is no risk in summoning you to appear.

Though they are simpler, Notices carry the same legal weight as an arrest. If you fail to attend court as required, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Because of this, it is crucial that you do not neglect it.

Have You Received a Notice to Appear?

A Notice to Appear indicates you are facing criminal charges. You need to secure a legal representative by the time you enter the court to retain the best possible chance of reducing or eliminating your charges. At Thomas & Paulk, we are familiar with all aspects of criminal law. Our history as Tampa criminal attorneys encompasses thousands of successful results against a wide range of charges. Call (813) 221-4200 to learn how we can help!

When a Notice to Appear Is Not Allowed

Contrary to popular belief, not all arrests are accompanied by a trip to the police station. In some circumstances, a person will be arrested for a violation, a first or second-degree misdemeanor offense, or because they violated a municipal or county ordinance, which can be tried in the county.

If the arrestee does not demand to be taken before a judge, the arresting officer can issue a Notice to Appear, unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • The accused refuses to identify themselves.
  • The accused cannot identify themselves for some reason.
  • The accused says that they will NOT sign the Notice to Appear.
  • The arresting officer is concerned that they will hurt themselves or someone else.
  • The accused does not have the ties to the jurisdiction to ensure that they will appear in court.
  • There is sufficient reason to believe that the accused will ignore the Notice to Appear.
  • In the past, the accused has ignored a Notice to Appear.
  • The accused has violated any of the conditions of a pretrial release program.

Learn more about Notices to Appear and how a Tampa criminal defense attorney can help. Read on, or call (813) 221-4200 for your free consultation.

Experienced Insight

If you have questions about a Notice to Appear or any other criminal matter, you can count on our team at Thomas & Paulk to offer honest insight. This insight is based on decades of experience in criminal law, both as former prosecutors and as criminal defense attorneys.

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More About Notices to Appear

When the Person Is Arrested

If any exceptions apply, the law enforcement officer will most likely arrest the individual. From there, the accused will be taken down to the station for booking. However, just because someone is delivered to the booking officer doesn’t mean they’ll be jailed.

Once the accused arrives at police headquarters, the booking officer will put a fresh set of eyes on the case. Suppose the booking officer believes that incarceration is unnecessary and that the accused is not a flight risk. In that case, the booking officer has the authority to issue a Notice to Appear at the station instead of continuing the process of jailing the person.

A booking officer will not issue a Notice to Appear until they've conducted an investigation into the accused, including:

  • Residential address and how long they have lived in the community
  • Family connections in the community (family ties are positive)
  • Employment status and history
  • Moral character and emotional stability
  • Any history of criminal convictions
  • Any history (good or bad) of appearing for court hearings

How a Notice to Appear Is Served in Florida

If an officer issues a Notice to Appear, they will give one copy to the accused. To secure their release, the accused must provide a written promise to appear in court. They sign three copies. One is kept by the officer. The remaining two are filed with the Clerk of Court.

As of January 1, 2017,  a Florida Notice to Appear must be issued immediately after a person is arrested and before they’re allowed to drive home or leave the officer’s presence. 

If a Notice to Appear is issued by a booking officer at the station, it is issued after the booking officer conducts their investigation and determines the individual does not have to stay. In these cases, the arresting officer or another official will release the accused.

How Our Tampa Defense Law Firm Can Help

If you have received a Notice to Appear, our firm's Tampa criminal defense attorneys are prepared to provide the legal counsel you need. We can answer your questions, discuss the details of your case, and offer insight into your options. If we represent you, we have the knowledge and resources to build a defense that most effectively challenges your charges. You can rest assured that every case is considered a top priority by our legal team. 

Contact us if you have questions about how we can help!