Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Criminal Department
3315 Tamiami Trail East, Ste. 102
Naples, FL 34112-5324
Phone: (239) 252-2646
Email: Criminal Department

 

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanor Charges

Misdemeanors may consist of the following charges but not limited to:

  • DUI
  • Battery
  • Petit Theft
  • Not valid driver’s license
  • Driving while license is suspended or revoked
  • Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams

Misdemeanor Court

Misdemeanors are handled in county court. First degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine & second degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.

What Happens First?

When an individual is arrested on criminal charges, they are taken to the Collier County Jail and will appear before a Judge, usually within 24 hours. This hearing is where the judge will officially inform you of the accusations against you and if you will be given the opportunity to post bail. This hearing is known as “first appearance.”

Public Defender Representation

Public defenders are experienced trial attorneys licensed by the Florida Bar who specialize in criminal law. If you are unable to afford a private attorney, you may complete an application for a Public Defender. The Clerk determines if a person applying for appointment of a Public Defender is indigent, pursuant to Fla. Stat. 27.52. The Court can make a provisional appointment of the Public Defender pending the Clerk’s determination of indigent status. The Affidavit of Indigent Status must be filed with the Clerk’s Office even if a provisional appointment has been made.

The provision of a Public Defender or court-appointed Attorney is not free. To request a Public Defender, you will visit Customer Service on the 1st floor of the Courthouse to complete an “Affidavit of Indigent Status” and pay the application fee.

What Is Bail?

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to be released from jail while you await trial by posting (paying) what is called “bail.” Bail can be paid in two ways, a cash bond or a property bond. If you appear for trial, your bail money is returned (minus administrative fees). If you fail to appear, the Court retains your bond and a warrant is issued for your arrest.

Your opportunity to post bail, as well as the amount, is determined by factors like the severity of the crime you have been accused, your criminal record and if the court thinks you may flee. If you can’t afford your bail amount, you can borrow it from a bail bondsman for a fee. You should understand that if you use a bondsman, they are entitled to collect their debt if you fail to appear for court.

What Is An Arraignment Hearing?

Formal reading of charges will be read to the defendant at a hearing called arraignment. The defendant will be asked to “enter a plea,” this is essentially answering to the charges against him or her. A defendant may plead not guilty, no contest or guilty.
The State of Florida may offer a plea deal at this time and a pre-trial and trial date may be set.

What Is A Plea?

A plea deal is only available when a prosecutor (The State of Florida) is willing to make or accept one and is an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant. It requires that the defendant plead either guilty or no contest in exchange for leniency, like reduced charges or sentencing. Accepting a plea deal still results in a criminal record in most cases but can reduce stress of going through a trial, ensure that a defendant receives a fairer sentence or even protect other who are impacted by the trial.

Plea deals depend on the specifics of the case, including the severity, whether violence was involved, prior criminal record and whether there were mitigating circumstances. It is important to know that an offer from the State will not always be available should you choose not to accept it when offered. Often times a defendant feels the offer is too harsh so they reject it but then on the day of the trial they want to accept the State’s offer and not be tried by a jury. Generally, the offer is no longer an option, so the trial begins.

Adjudication Withheld

Withheld adjudication is available in misdemeanor/criminal traffic cases. A Judge in a criminal proceeding can impose a sentence of a fine and court costs with time to pay or a sentence of probation on a defendant without first convicting that defendant of the underlying crime. The Judge withholds imposing a conviction pending successful completion of the probationary term. If the defendant completes the term successfully and there are no further issues/orders in the case, the withhold of adjudication will remain. The defendant is not “convicted” of the crime. A “withhold” may qualify an individual to have a record sealed. Civil rights are not forfeited however the charge will show up on a criminal history record if not expunges/sealed.

On the other hand, if the defendant fails to successfully complete the term of probation, the judge then enters an order of conviction when a violation of Probation matter is addressed in court. Moreover, at that juncture, a criminal defendant may be sentenced to a further term of incarceration. Civil rights are forfeited as a result of conviction.

Adjudicated Guilty

When adjudicated guilty, this means you have been formally convicted of the crime and are a “convicted felon” if the crime was a felony. There are life-changing consequences you may experience like loss of employment, loss of child custody, loss of your civil rights and right to vote, immigration status, may negatively affect purchasing a home, background checks and future job applications, and more.

Court Appearances

If you fail to appear in court for a criminal case, the Court may issue a “Bench Warrant” for your arrest and enter an “Order of Bond Estreature”, causing you to forfeit the money and/or collateral you posted for the bond. Additional penalties could also be imposed by the Court including losing your driving license.

County Probation

If you are sentenced to serve county probation, you must report to the probation department located inside the courthouse on the 1st floor by the soda machines. This shall be done immediately upon being sentenced to probation. Monthly fees apply and can be paid at Customer Service on the 1st floor.

Witnesses

If you are a witness in a criminal case, you should communicate with the State Attorney assigned to the case.

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