What is the process of a criminal case in Florida? How long might this take?
Answer: The process of a criminal case can vary from case to case. Basically what happens is law enforcement conducts an investigation and they ultimately make an arrest. It is then turned over to the state attorney’s office. The state attorney’s office goes over all the information provided by law enforcement and they will make what’s called a filing decision as to whether or not to proceed with filing formal charges.If they decide to file formal charges, they will file what’s called an information. The information basically lays out what the individual is being charged with. After they file the information, there will be what’s called an arraignment date. That arraignment date is just a formal reading of the charges in court and a person at that point would enter in, they’ll either plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If they plead not guilty it’s set for another court date, a month or so out or maybe even farther depending on whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor. As far as how long the whole process can take, again it varies from case to case depending on the facts, depending on the type of crime, depending on the amount of discovery there is, what motions there are to be heard, if there needs to be depositions, things like that. In the case of misdemeanors, those types of cases can take anywhere from a couple of months, and in felony cases you could go up to a couple of years. It just varies on a case-by-case basis.