Administrative Orders for First Appearance in Palm Beach County

After an arrest, a person in custody at the Palm Beach County Detention Center annexes will be brought to a first appearance hearing within twenty-four (24) hours of their arrest except those exempted by Rule 3.130(a), F.R.Cr.P.

The First appearance hearings for all defendants will be held in the Criminal Justice Courtroom at 3228 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach,
Florida, from 9:00 am. on Monday until Sunday. Felony Fast Track hearings will be held at 1:30 pm. Monday through Friday at the courthouse in West Palm Beach. The times are changed with the approval of the chief judge.

If you were arrested in Palm Beach County for any type of felony or misdemeanor case then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Call us to discuss your bond hearing, your first appearance court date, and the twenty one day period after your arrest when the State Attorney's Office will make a filing decision.

We take an aggressive approach to protecting our clients at each stage of the case. We also file and litigate motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained, motions to exclude evidence that is unduly prejudicial, and motions to dismiss charges not supported by sufficient evidence. Call us to discuss your case and your best defense.

Call (561) 283-3259 today.


Exceptions to 24-Hour Rule for First Appearance

To learn more about first appearance hearings in the Fifteen Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, read Administrative Order Number 4.201-3/ 13*. The administrative order was signed on the 14th day of March, 2013 by the Chief Judge, Peter D. Blane. The new administrative order supersedes the prior administrative order 4.201-5/ 10.

The order was entered pursuant to the authority conferred by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215. Under that authority, the court ordered the following procedures to establish a uniform procedure at ?rst appearance hearings in Palm Beach County, Florida. Certain exceptions to the 24-hour rule exist in the following types of cases. 

Violation of Probation on a Felony Charge

If the defendant is also charged with an additional substantive offense, the defendant will be taken to a ?rst appearance hearing on the new charge(s) only. For the violation of felony probation, the court will follow the procedures in Administrative Order No. 4.401~5/ 10 (as amended).

Failure to Appear at Felony Arraignment

All Defendants arrested for failure to appear for felony arraignment shall be set for Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 p.m. at the Criminal Justice Complex.

Failure to Appear at any other Felony Court Proceeding

The Judicial Assistant of the assigned Felony Division will be noti?ed of the defendant’s re-arrest and will set a court hearing as soon as is practicable.

Failure to Appear for any Misdemeanor Charge

Cases assigned to the Central, North, South, and Belle Glade Courthouses, with the exception of Failure to Appear for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence and Misdemeanor DUI, the person will be brought before Division KK Monday through Sunday on the next work day after the Clerk receives the booking slip.

Persons arrested for Failure to Appear for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence or Misdemeanor DUI will be brought before the presiding judge of the assigned division for a hearing within 48 hours of the arrest excluding weekends and holidays.

Contempt of Court (not occurring on a weekend or holiday)

The Judicial Assistant of the Judge issuing the contempt order shall be notified and shall schedule a hearing before the Judge as soon as is practicable.

*If the contempt order is executed such that the next day is a weekend or holiday, the individual shall be brought to first appearance at the Criminal Justice Complex.

Material Witness

The witness shall be brought before the first appearance judge. The witness shall be held separate from the regular first appearance population.

Bond Surrenders and Extraditions

On weekends and holidays, bond surrenders and extraditions shall not be brought to first appearance hearings, but shall be brought to first appearances at the next regular work day.

(SPECIAL NOTE: Persons in custody on a Bond Surrender who have not previously had a first appearance on the charge shall be brought to first appearance as though it were the original arrest.)

Up-FIles

Those cases that are up-filed from misdemeanors to felonies and which the county court judge set the conditions of bail and/or the amount of the bond may be heard by the county court judge presiding over the misdemeanor. See Admin. Order 4.101-3/09 (as amended).

Note: Limited first appearance hearings may be held in the branch courthouses on days and at times designated by the judge assigned to the branch courthouse.


Personnel in Attendance at the First Appearance

The administrative order requires the following personnel to be present at the first appearance in West Palm Beach for cases in Palm Beach County, FL:

  • the Judge;
  • the Deputy Clerk of the Court; 
  • the State Attorney or Assistant State Attorney; 
  • the Public Defender or Assistant Public Defender;
  • the Bailiff designated by the Chief Bailiff;
  • Deputy Sheriffs as may be needed for security;
  • the Court Interpreters; 
  • the Recording Clerk; and
  • two (2) representatives from Pretrial Services Program.

The court representative will present information contained in interviews.

The O.R. agreement sign-up representative will explain the O.R. bond guidelines and secure the defendant’s signature on the agreement. The OR sign-up representative will also screen for supervised O.R. acceptance, explain to the supervised O.R. client the conditions of supervised OR. and schedule an orientation appointment for supervised O.R.

At the first appearance, the court will review the booking slip and the probable cause af?davit, probable cause order, warrant, capias or citation, and information obtained during the jail classification process for use at first appearance including a copy of the NCIC information. The court will also review the completed Application for Criminal Indigency Status filed by the Defendant.

The State Attorney also has the following information prior to first appearance:

  1. Sheriff's Office First Appearance List;
  2. Clerk’s PALMS / First Appearance Criminal History;
  3. Booking and Probable Cause Affidavit as provided by the Sheriff‘s Office;
  4. Warrant or Capias as provided by the Sheriff’s Office;
  5. Access to original Citation for review.

The Pretrial Services Court Representatives provide the following documents to the judge: 

  1. The PTS interview;
  2. In applicable cases, the reason an interview does not exist.

This article was last updated on Thursday, October 13, 2016.

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