Call Us 24 hours / 7 days a week

Will my case go to trial?

In Florida, different factors determine whether or not your case will go to trial. Some of these factors are dictated by state law while others are based on the circumstances of your case.  

Our skilled attorneys can help you understand the likelihood of your case going to trial. If it does go to trial, we’ll construct a solid defense on your behalf.

You have the constitutional right to representation – don’t risk your freedom without it.

will my case go to trial


Factors that determine if a case will go to trial

For any felony charge, you have the right to a trial before a jury of your peers.

For misdemeanors, an accused person still has a right to a jury trial for all misdemeanor charges. 

However,  where the punishable term of imprisonment is six months or less, and the court certifies in advance that upon a loss, the accused will not be incarcerated and will not be adjudicated guilty, a bench trial may be conducted.

Most misdemeanors won’t go to trial; they’ll get pleaded out or possibly dismissed. However, Florida Statute 918.0157 permits anyone charged with DUI to have a jury trial..

Even when you’re afforded the right to go to trial, you don’t have to take your case that far. Your defense lawyer may consider a few things before recommending a trial:

  • Does the State have strong evidence against you?
  • Is the state offering a good plea deal?
  • Does the judge or prosecutor take a plea offer off the table once a trial date is set?
  • Are the issues clear-cut and factual?
  • Does the crux of the case rest on interpretations of points of law?

Please note, cases with complex legal or factual issues often go to trial.  

Steps in the pre-trial process

You and your criminal defense lawyers in Orlando may negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain at any point in the pre-trial proceedings.

In these agreements, you might plead “No Contest” or “Guilty” and agree to the penalty outlined in the plea arrangement.  

Otherwise, you can expect your case to follow these steps.

1. First appearance

If you are arrested, you must appear at a court hearing within 24 hours of your arrest unless you bond out prior to the hearing.

At that hearing, the judge will recite the charges being brought against you, will advise you of your rights, and may set bail or release you of your own recognizance.

2. Arraignment

You will be formally charged at the arraignment, at which point you may enter your plea.

If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced immediately; otherwise, your trial date will be set.

3. Pre-Trial Conference

Depending on the county where your case is, these conferences go by many names including Plea-Negotiation Conference, Sentencing, Pre-Trial Conference, Case Management Conference, Scheduling Conference, etc. 

These various court dates are generally to keep the court informed about the status of your case and to keep the process moving forward.

The role of plea bargaining in the criminal trial process

A plea arrangement is made at the prosecutor’s discretion, following the directives of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.171.

Your lawyer negotiates a better deal for you, including a reduction in your charge or charges in exchange for your plea to those lessened charges.

For example, suppose you’re charged with multiple crimes. In that case, your lawyer may negotiate that you only be charged for one crime and serve the penalty instead of multiple charges and the associated penalties.

Trial preparation

If you opt out of a plea bargain or plead not guilty, your lawyer will prepare your case for trial, including propounding discovery and conducting depositions of witnesses and interested parties in the case.

You may still enter a plea bargain at any time during trial preparation so long as the prosecutor is still offering it, otherwise you may plea to the court.

Are you facing criminal charges in Orlando? Contact a skilled criminal defense law firm today!

Penalties for a criminal charge in Florida can be steep and life-changing. Don’t go it alone; call Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 today.

More FAQs