If you are like many people charged with a crime, it is your first experience on this side of the law. Not only is being arrested and charged with a crime stressful, but not knowing what comes next can cause a great deal of anxiety. When you know what to expect, you can be better prepared to move forward and do what needs to be done.

Categories of Crime

In Florida and elsewhere, there are two categories of crime: misdemeanors and felonies.

A misdemeanor is a lesser offense. The penalties for this class of crime are less than a year in prison, fines, community service, or some combination of the three.

A felony is a serious offense. These crimes include murder, kidnapping, robbery, domestic violence, and arson. The penalty for these crimes is at least a single year in prison, hefty fines, or a combination of the two. Some crimes may be classified as a misdemeanor but be “bumped” to a felony depending on the specific set of circumstances.

Arrested and Booked

When you are arrested, you will be taken to the police station or jail in many cases. You will be booked. This process includes being photographed and having your fingerprints taken. Most of your belongings will be confiscated, and you will be required to pay a certain amount of money to be released from custody.


The next step in the process is your arraignment. This must occur within a certain time frame. If you have not been able to post bail, your arraignment may be sooner than if you had. During the arraignment, you are asked to enter a plea.

  1. Mute plea: you may enter a mute plea in place of a not guilty plea. You are not admitting to the correctness of the process.
  2. No contest: you do not admit guilt, but you do not admit to the charges.
  3. Not guilty: you are claiming that you did not commit the crime.
  4. Guilty: you accept the facts as presented and you concur that you committed the crime.


If you plead anything other than guilty, you will move forward to trial. This will take place within 175 days of your arrest in most cases. During this time, you and your attorney may attempt a plea bargain. If an agreement cannot be reached, you will appear at trial.

If you have been arrested for a crime, our expert criminal defense attorneys are here to fight for your rights. Call our offices now for your free case evaluation. We are ready to defend you in court.

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