III. Preliminary Proceedings
3.120. Committing Judge
Each state and county judge is a committing judge and may issue a summons to, or a warrant for the arrest of, a person against whom a complaint is made in writing and sworn to before a person authorized to administer oaths, when the complaint states facts that show that such person violated a criminal law of this state within the jurisdiction of the judge to whom the complaint is presented.
The judge may take testimony under oath to determine if there is reasonable ground to believe the complaint is true. The judge may commit the offender to jail, may order the defendant to appear before the proper court to answer the charge in the complaint, or may discharge the defendant from custody or from any undertaking to appear. The judge may authorize the clerk to issue a summons.
3.121. Arrest Warrant
(a) Issuance. An arrest warrant, when issued, shall:
(1) be in writing and in the name of the State of Florida;
(2) set forth substantially the nature of the offense;
(3) command that the person against whom the complaint was made be arrested and brought before a judge;
(4) specify the name of the person to be arrested or, if the name is unknown to the judge, designate the person by any name or description by which the person can be identified with reasonable certainty;
(5) state the date when issued and the county where issued;
(6) be signed by the judge with the title of the office; and
(7) in all offenses bailable as of right be endorsed with the amount of bail and the return date.
(b) Amendment. No arrest warrant shall be dismissed nor shall any person in custody be discharged because of any defect as to form in the warrant; but the warrant may be amended by the judge to remedy such defect.
3.125. Notice to Appear
(a) Definition. Unless indicated otherwise, notice to appear means a written order issued by a law enforcement officer in lieu of physical arrest requiring a person accused of violating the law to appear in a designated court or governmental office at a specified date and time.
(b) By Arresting Officer. If a person is arrested for an offense declared to be a misdemeanor of the first or second degree or a violation, or is arrested for violation of a municipal or county ordinance triable in the county, and demand to be taken before a judge is not made, notice to appear may be issued by the arresting officer unless:
(1) the accused fails or refuses to sufficiently identify himself or herself or supply the required information;
(2) the accused refuses to sign the notice to appear;
(3) the officer has reason to believe that the continued liberty of the accused constitutes an unreasonable risk of bodily injury to the accused or others;
(4) the accused has no ties with the jurisdiction reasonably sufficient to assure the accused's appearance or there is substantial risk that the accused will refuse to respond to the notice;
(5) the officer has any suspicion that the accused may be wanted in any jurisdiction; or
(6) it appears that the accused previously has failed to respond to a notice or a summons or has violated the conditions of any pretrial release program.
(c) By Booking Officer. If the arresting officer does not issue notice to appear because of one of the exceptions listed in subdivision (b) and takes the accused to police headquarters, the booking officer may issue notice to appear if the officer determines that there is a likelihood that the accused will appear as directed, based on a reasonable investigation of the accused's:
(1) residence and length of residence in the community;
(2) family ties in the community;
(3) employment record;
(4) character and mental condition;
(5) past record of convictions; or
(6) past history of appearance at court proceedings.
(d) How and When Served. If notice to appear is issued, it shall be prepared in quadruplicate. The officer shall deliver 1 copy of the notice to appear to the arrested person and the person, to secure release, shall give a written promise to appear in court by signing the 3 remaining copies: 1 to be retained by the officer and 2 to be filed with the clerk of the court. These 2 copies shall be sworn to by the arresting officer before a notary public or a deputy clerk. If notice to appear is issued under subdivision (b), the notice shall be issued immediately upon arrest. If notice to appear is issued under subdivision (c), the notice shall be issued immediately on completion of the investigation. The arresting officer or other duly authorized official then shall release from custody the person arrested.
(e) Copy to the Clerk of the Court. With the sworn notice to appear, the arresting officer shall file with the clerk a list of witnesses and their addresses and a list of tangible evidence in the cause. One copy shall be retained by the officer and 2 copies shall be filed with the clerk of the court.
(f) Copy to State Attorney. The clerk shall deliver 1 copy of the notice to appear and schedule of witnesses and evidence filed therewith to the state attorney.
(g) Contents. If notice to appear is issued, it shall contain the:
(1) name and address of the accused;
(2) date of offense;
(3) offense(s) Charged by statute and municipal ordinance if applicable;
(4) counts of each offense;
(5) time and place that the accused is to appear in court;
(6) name and address of the trial court having jurisdiction to try the offense(s) charged;
(7) name of the arresting officer;
(8) name(s) of any other person(s) charged at the same time; and
(9) signature of the accused.
(h) Failure to Appear. If a person signs a written notice to appear and fails to respond to the notice to appear, a warrant of arrest shall be issued under rule 3.121.
(i) Traffic Violations Excluded. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the operation of a traffic violations bureau, the issuance of citations for traffic violations, or any procedure under chapter 316, Florida Statutes.
(j) Rules and Regulations. Rules and regulations of procedure governing the exercise of authority to issue notices to appear shall be established by the chief judge of the circuit.
(k) Procedure by Court.
(1) When the accused appears before the court under the requirements of the notice to appear, the court shall advise the defendant as set forth in rule 3.130(b), and the provisions of that rule shall apply. The accused at such appearance may elect to waive the right to counsel and trial and enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere by executing the waiver form contained on the notice to appear, and the court may enter judgment and sentence in the cause.
(2) In the event the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the court may set the cause for jury or nonjury trial on the notice to appear under the provisions of rules 3.140 and 3.160. When the court sets a trial date by the court, the clerk shall, without further praecipe, issue witness subpoenas to the law enforcement officer who executed the notice to appear and to the witnesses whose names and addresses appear on the list filed by the officer, requiring their attendance at trial.
(l) Form of Notice to Appear and Schedule of Witnesses and Evidence. The notice to appear and schedule of witnesses and evidence shall be in substantially the following form: [Omitted]
3.130. First Appearance
(a) Prompt First Appearance. Except when previously released in a lawful manner, every arrested person shall be taken before a judicial officer, either in person or by electronic audiovisual device in the discretion of the court, within 24 hours of arrest. In the case of a child in the custody of juvenile authorities, against whom an information or indictment has been filed, the child shall be taken for a first appearance hearing within 24 hours of the filing of the information or indictment. The chief judge of the circuit for each county within the circuit shall designate 1 or more judicial officers from the circuit court, or county court, to be available for the first appearance and proceedings. The state attorney or an assistant state attorney and public defender or an assistant public defender shall attend the first appearance proceeding either in person or by other electronic means. First appearance hearings shall be held with adequate notice to the public defender and state attorney. An official record of the proceedings shall be maintained. If the defendant has retained counsel or expresses a desire to and is financially able, the attendance of the public defender or assistant public defender is not required at the first appearance, and the judge shall follow the procedure outlined in subdivision (c)(2).
(b) Advice to Defendant. At the defendant's first appearance the judge shall immediately inform the defendant of the charge and provide the defendant with a copy of the complaint. The judge shall also adequately advise the defendant that:
(1) the defendant is not required to say anything, and that anything the defendant says may be used against him or her;
(2) if unrepresented, that the defendant has a right to counsel, and, if financially unable to afford counsel, that counsel will be appointed; and
(3) the defendant has a right to communicate with counsel, family, or friends, and if necessary, will be provided reasonable means to do so.
(c) Counsel for Defendant.
(1) Appointed Counsel. If practicable, the judge should determine prior to the first appearance whether the defendant is financially able to afford counsel and whether the defendant desires representation. When the judge determines that the defendant is entitled to court–appointed counsel and desires counsel, the judge shall immediately appoint counsel. This determination must be made and, if required, counsel appointed no later than the time of the first appearance and before any other proceedings at the first appearance. If necessary, counsel may be appointed for the limited purpose of representing the defendant only at first appearance or at subsequent proceedings before the judge.
(2) Retained Counsel. When the defendant has employed counsel or is financially able and desires to employ counsel to represent him or her at first appearance, the judge shall allow the defendant a reasonable time to send for counsel and shall, if necessary, postpone the first appearance hearing for that purpose. The judge shall also, on request of the defendant, require an officer to communicate a message to such counsel as the defendant may name. The officer shall, with diligence and without cost to the defendant if the counsel is within the county, perform the duty. If the postponement will likely result in the continued incarceration of the defendant beyond a 24–hour period, at the request of the defendant the judge may appoint counsel to represent the defendant for the first appearance hearing.
(3) Opportunity to Confer. No further steps in the proceedings should be taken until the defendant and counsel have had an adequate opportunity to confer, unless the defendant has intelligently waived the right to be represented by counsel.
(4) Waiver of Counsel. The defendant may waive the right to counsel at first appearance. The waiver, containing an explanation of the right to counsel, shall be in writing and signed and dated by the defendant. This written waiver of counsel shall, in addition, contain a statement that it is limited to first appearance only and shall in no way be construed to be a waiver of counsel for subsequent proceedings.
(d) Pretrial Release. The judicial officer shall proceed to determine conditions of release pursuant to rule 3.131.
3.131. Pretrial Release
(a) Right to Pretrial Release. Unless charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great, every person charged with a crime or violation of municipal or county ordinance shall be entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions. As a condition of pretrial release, whether such release is by surety bail bond or recognizance bond or in some other form, the defendant shall refrain from any contact of any type with the victim, except through pretrial discovery pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and shall comply with all conditions of pretrial release as ordered by the court. Upon motion by the defendant when bail is set, or upon later motion properly noticed pursuant to law, the court may modify the condition precluding victim contact if good cause is shown and the interests of justice so require. The victim shall be permitted to be heard at any proceeding in which such modification is considered, and the state attorney shall notify the victim of the provisions of this subsection and of the pendency of any such proceeding. If no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained.
(b) Hearing at First Appearance – Conditions of Release.
(1) Unless the state has filed a motion for pretrial detention pursuant to rule 3.132, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine pretrial release. For the purpose of this rule, bail is defined as any of the forms of release stated below. Except as otherwise provided by this rule, there is a presumption in favor of release on nonmonetary conditions for any person who is granted pretrial release. The judicial officer shall impose the first of the following conditions of release that will reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process; or, if no single condition gives that assurance, shall impose any combination of the following conditions:
(A) personal recognizance of the defendant;
(B) execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the judge;
(C) placement of restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode of the defendant during the period of release;
(D) placement of the defendant in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise the defendant;
(E) execution of a bail bond with sufficient solvent sureties, or the deposit of cash in lieu thereof; provided, however, that any criminal defendant who is required to meet monetary bail or bail with any monetary component may satisfy the bail by providing an appearance bond; or
(F) any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, including a condition requiring that the person return to custody after specified hours.
(2) The judge shall at the defendant's first appearance consider all available relevant factors to determine what form of release is necessary to assure the defendant's appearance. If a monetary bail is required, the judge shall determine the amount. Any judge setting or granting monetary bond shall set a separate and specific bail amount for each charge or offense. When bail is posted each charge or offense requires a separate bond.
(3) In determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be, the court may consider the nature and circumstances of the offense charged and the penalty provided by law; the weight of the evidence against the defendant; the defendant's family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, need for substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment, and mental condition; the defendant's past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings; the nature and probability of danger that the defendant's release poses to the community; the source of funds used to post bail; whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or is on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of sentence; and any other facts the court considers relevant.
(4) No person charged with a dangerous crime, as defined in section 907.041(4)(a), Florida Statutes, shall be released on nonmonetary conditions under the supervision of a pretrial release service, unless the service certifies to the court that it has investigated or otherwise verified the conditions set forth in section 907.041(3)(b), Florida Statutes.
(5) All information provided by a defendant in connection with any application for or attempt to secure bail, to any court, court personnel, or individual soliciting or recording such information for the purpose of evaluating eligibility for or securing bail for the defendant, under circumstances such that the defendant knew or should have known that the information was to be used in connection with an application for bail, shall be accurate, truthful, and complete, without omissions, to the best knowledge of the defendant. Failure to comply with the provisions of this subdivision may result in the revocation or modification of bail. However, no defendant shall be compelled to provide information regarding his or her criminal record.
(6) Information stated in, or offered in connection with, any order entered pursuant to this rule need not strictly conform to the rules of evidence.
(c) Consequences of Failure to Appear.
(1) Any defendant who willfully and knowingly fails to appear and breaches a bond as specified in section 903.26, Florida Statutes, and who voluntarily appears or surrenders shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond.
(2) Any defendant who willfully and knowingly fails to appear and breaches a bond as specified in section 903.26, Florida Statutes, and who is arrested at any time following forfeiture shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond or any form of bond that does not require a monetary undertaking or commitment equal to or greater than $2,000 or twice the value of the monetary commitment or undertaking of the original bond, whichever is greater.
(d) Subsequent Application for Setting or Modification of Bail.
(1) When a judicial officer not possessing trial jurisdiction orders a defendant held to answer before a court having jurisdiction to try the defendant, and bail has been denied or sought to be modified, application by motion may be made to the court having jurisdiction to try the defendant or, in the absence of the judge of the trial court, to the circuit court. The motion shall be determined promptly. No judge or a court of equal or inferior jurisdiction may modify or set a condition of release, unless the judge:
(A) imposed the conditions of bail or set the amount of bond required;
(B) is the chief judge of the circuit in which the defendant is to be tried;
(C) has been assigned to preside over the criminal trial of the defendant; or
(D) is the first appearance judge and was authorized by the judge initially setting or denying bail to modify or set conditions of release.
(2) Applications by the defendant for modification of bail on any felony charge must be heard by a court in person at a hearing, with the defendant present and with at least 3 hours' notice to the state attorney and county attorney, if bond forfeiture proceedings are handled by the county attorney. The state may apply for modification of bail by showing good cause and with at least 3 hours' notice to the attorney for the defendant.
(3) If any trial court fixes bail and refuses its reduction before trial, the defendant may institute habeas corpus proceedings seeking reduction of bail. If application is made to the supreme court or district court of appeal, notice and a copy of such application shall be given to the attorney general and the state attorney. Such proceedings shall be determined promptly.
(e) Bail Before Conviction; Condition of Undertaking.
(1) If a person is admitted to bail for appearance for a preliminary hearing or on a charge that a judge is empowered to try, the condition of the undertaking shall be that the person will appear for the hearing or to answer the charge and will submit to the orders and process of the judge trying the same and will not depart without leave.
(2) If a person is admitted to bail after being held to answer by a judge or after an indictment or information on which the person is to be tried has been filed, the condition of the undertaking shall be that the person will appear to answer the charges before the court in which he or she may be prosecuted and submit to the orders and process of the court and will not depart without leave.
(f) Revocation of Bail. The court in its discretion for good cause, any time after a defendant who is at large on bail appears for trial, may commit the defendant to the custody of the proper official to abide by the judgment, sentence, and any further order of the court.
(g) Arrest and Commitment by Court. The court in which the cause is pending may direct the arrest and commitment of the defendant who is at large on bail when:
(1) there has been a breach of the undertaking;
(2) it appears that the defendant's sureties or any of them are dead or cannot be found or are insufficient or have ceased to be residents of the state; or
(3) the court is satisfied that the bail should be increased or new or additional security required. The order for the commitment of the defendant shall recite generally the facts on which it is based and shall direct that the defendant be arrested by any official authorized to make arrests and that the defendant be committed to the official in whose custody he or she would be if he or she had not been given bail, to be detained by such official until legally discharged. The defendant shall be arrested pursuant to such order on a certified copy thereof, in any county, in the same manner as on a warrant of arrest. If the order provided for is made because of the failure of the defendant to appear for judgment, the defendant shall be committed. If the order is made for any other cause, the court may determine the conditions of release, if any.
(h) Bail after Recommitment. If the defendant applies to be admitted to bail after recommitment, the court that recommitted the defendant shall determine conditions of release, if any, subject to the limitations of (b) above.
(i) Qualifications of Surety after Order of Recommitment. If the defendant offers bail after recommitment, each surety shall possess the qualifications and sufficiency and the bail shall be furnished in all respects in the manner prescribed for admission to bail before recommitment.
(j) Issuance of Capias; Bail Specified. On the filing of either an indictment or information charging the commission of a crime, if the person named therein is not in custody or at large on bail for the offense charged, the judge shall issue or shall direct the clerk to issue, either immediately or when so directed by the prosecuting attorney, a capias for the arrest of the person. If the person named in the indictment or information is a child and the child has been served with a promise to appear under the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, capias need not be issued. Upon the filing of the indictment or information, the judge shall endorse the amount of bail, if any, and may authorize the setting or modification of bail by the judge presiding over the defendant's first appearance hearing. This endorsement shall be made on the capias and signed by the judge.
(k) Summons on Misdemeanor Charge. When a complaint is filed charging the commission of a misdemeanor only and the judge deems that process should issue as a result, or when an indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried charging the commission of a misdemeanor only, and the person named in it is not in custody or at large on bail for the offense charged, the judge shall direct the clerk to issue a summons instead of a capias unless the judge has reasonable ground to believe that the person will not appear in response to a summons, in which event an arrest warrant or a capias shall be issued with the amount of bail endorsed on it. The summons shall state substantially the nature of the offense and shall command the person against whom the complaint was made to appear before the judge issuing the summons or the judge having jurisdiction of the offense at a time and place stated in it.
(l) Summons When Defendant Is Corporation. On the filing of an indictment or information or complaint charging a corporation with the commission of a crime, whether felony or misdemeanor, the judge shall direct the clerk to issue or shall issue a summons to secure its appearance to answer the charge. If, after being summoned, the corporation does not appear, a plea of not guilty shall be entered and trial and judgment shall follow without further process.
3.132. Pretrial Detention
(a) Motion Filed at First Appearance. A person arrested for an offense for which detention may be ordered under section 907.041, Florida Statutes, shall be taken before a judicial officer for a first appearance within 24 hours of arrest. The state may file with the judicial officer at first appearance a motion seeking pretrial detention, signed by the state attorney or an assistant, setting forth with particularity the grounds and the essential facts on which pretrial detention is sought and certifying that the state attorney has received testimony under oath supporting the grounds and the essential facts alleged in the motion. If no such motion is filed, the judicial officer may inquire whether the state intends to file a motion for pretrial detention, and if so, grant the state no more than three days to file a motion under this subdivision. Upon a showing by the state of probable cause that the defendant committed the offense and exigent circumstances, the defendant shall be detained in custody pending the filing of the motion. If, after inquiry, the State indicates it does not intend to file a motion for pretrial detention, or fails to establish exigent circumstances for holding defendant in custody pending the filing of the motion, or files a motion that is facially insufficient, the judicial officer shall proceed to determine the conditions of release pursuant to the provisions of rule 3.131(b). If the motion for pretrial detention is facially sufficient, the judicial officer shall proceed to determine the conditions of release pursuant to the provisions of rule 3.131(b). If the motion for pretrial detention is facially sufficient, the judicial officer shall proceed to determine whether there is probable cause that the person committed the offense. If probable cause is found, the person may be detained in custody pending a final hearing on pretrial detention. If probable cause is established after first appearance pursuant to the provisions of rule 3.133 and the person has been released from custody, the person may be recommitted to custody pending a final hearing on pretrial detention.
(b) Motion Filed after First Appearance. A motion for pretrial detention may be filed at any time prior to trial. The motion shall be made to the court with trial jurisdiction. On receipt of a facially sufficient motion and a determination of probable cause, unless otherwise previously established, that an offense eligible for pretrial detention has been committed, the following shall occur:
(1) In the event of exigent circumstances, the court shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the named person, if the person has been released from custody. The person may be detained in custody pending a final hearing on pretrial detention.
(2) In the absence of exigent circumstances, the court shall order a hearing on the motion as provided in (c) below.
(c) Final Order.
(1) Hearing Required. A final order of pretrial detention shall be entered only after a hearing in the court of trial jurisdiction. The hearing shall be held within 5 days of the filing of the motion or the date of taking the person in custody pursuant to a motion for pretrial detention, whichever is later. The state attorney has the burden of showing beyond a reasonable doubt the need for pretrial detention pursuant to the criteria in section 907.041, Florida Statutes. The defendant may request a continuance. The state shall be entitled to 1 continuance for good cause. No continuance shall exceed 5 days unless there are extenuating circumstances. The defendant may be detained pending the hearing, but in no case shall the defendant be detained in excess of 10 days, unless the delay is sought by the defendant. The person sought to be detained is entitled to representation by counsel, to present witnesses and evidence, and to cross–examine witnesses. The court may admit relevant evidence and testimony under oath without complying with the rules of evidence, but evidence secured in violation of the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Florida shall not be admissible. A final order of pretrial detention shall not be based exclusively on hearsay evidence. No testimony by the defendant shall be admissible to prove the guilt of the defendant at any other judicial proceeding, but may be admitted in an action for perjury based on the defendant's statements made at the pretrial detention hearing or for impeachment.
(2) Findings and Conclusions to Be Recorded. The court's pretrial detention order shall be based solely on evidence produced at the hearing and shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law to support it. The order shall be made either in writing or orally on the record. The court shall render its findings within 24 hours of the pretrial detention hearing.
(3) Dissolution of Order. The defendant shall be entitled to dissolution of the pretrial detention order whenever the court finds that a subsequent event has eliminated the basis for detention.
(4) Further Proceedings on Order. If any trial court enters a final order of pretrial detention, the defendant may obtain review by motion to the appropriate appellate court. If motion for review is taken to the supreme court or the district court of appeal, notice and a copy of the motion shall be served on the attorney general and the state attorney; if review is taken to the circuit court, service shall be on the state attorney.
3.133. Pretrial Probable Cause Determinations and Adversary Preliminary Hearings
(a) Nonadversary Probable Cause Determination.
(1) Defendant in Custody. In all cases in which the defendant is in custody, a nonadversary probable cause determination shall be held before a judge within 48 hours from the time of the defendant's arrest; provided, however, that this proceeding shall not be required when a probable cause determination has been previously made by a judge and an arrest warrant issued for the specific offense for which the defendant is charged. The judge after a showing of extraordinary circumstance may continue the proceeding for not more than 24 hours beyond the 48–hour period. The judge, after a showing that an extraordinary circumstance still exists, may continue the proceeding for not more than 24 additional hours following the expiration of the initial 24–hour continuance. This determination shall be made if the necessary proof is available at the time of the first appearance as required under rule 3.130, but the holding of this determination at that time shall not affect the fact that it is a nonadversary proceeding.
(2) Defendant on Pretrial Release. A defendant who has been released from custody before a probable cause determination is made and who is able to establish that the pretrial release conditions are a significant restraint on his or her liberty may file a written motion for a nonadversary probable cause determination setting forth with specificity the items of significant restraint that a finding of no probable cause would eliminate. The motion shall be filed within 21 days from the date of arrest, and notice shall be given to the state. A judge who finds significant restraints on the defendant's liberty shall make a probable cause determination within 7 days from the filing of the motion.
(3) Standard of Proof. Upon presentation of proof, the judge shall determine whether there is probable cause for detaining the arrested person pending further proceedings. The defendant need not be present. In determining probable cause to detain the defendant, the judge shall apply the standard for issuance of an arrest warrant, and the finding may be based on sworn complaint, affidavit, deposition under oath, or, if necessary, on testimony under oath properly recorded.
(4) Action on Determination. If probable cause is found, the defendant shall be held to answer the charges. If probable cause is not found or the specified time periods are not complied with, the defendant shall be released from custody unless an information or indictment has been filed, in which event the defendant shall be released on recognizance subject to the condition that he or she appear at all court proceedings or shall be released under a summons to appear before the appropriate court at a time certain. Any release occasioned by a failure to comply with the specified time periods shall be by order of the judge on a written application filed by the defendant with notice sent to the state or by a judge without a written application but with notice to the state. The judge shall order the release of the defendant after it is determined that the defendant is entitled to release and after the state has a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 24 hours, in which to establish probable cause. A release required by this rule does not void further prosecution by information or indictment but does prohibit any restraint on liberty other than appearing for trial. A finding that probable cause does or does not exist shall be made in writing, signed by the judge, and filed, together with the evidence of such probable cause, with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the offense for which the defendant is charged.
(b) Adversary Preliminary Hearing.
(1) When Applicable. A defendant who is not charged in an information or indictment within 21 days from the date of arrest or service of the capias on him or her shall have a right to an adversary preliminary hearing on any felony charge then pending against the defendant. The subsequent filing of an information or indictment shall not eliminate a defendant's entitlement to this proceeding.
(2) Process. The judge shall issue such process as may be necessary to secure attendance of witnesses within the state for the state or the defendant.
(3) Witnesses. All witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the defendant and may be cross–examined. Either party may request that the witnesses be sequestered. At the conclusion of the testimony for the prosecution, the defendant who so elects shall be sworn and testify in his or her own behalf, and in such cases the defendant shall be warned in advance of testifying that anything he or she may say can be used against him or her at a subsequent trial. The defendant may be cross–examined in the same manner as other witnesses, and any witnesses offered by the defendant shall be sworn and examined.
(4) Record. At the request of either party, the entire preliminary hearing, including all testimony, shall be recorded verbatim stenographically or by mechanical means and at the request of either party shall be transcribed. If the record of the proceedings, or any part thereof, is transcribed at the request of the prosecuting attorney, a copy of this transcript shall be furnished free of cost to the defendant or the defendant's counsel.
(5) Action on Hearing. If from the evidence it appears to the judge that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant has committed it, the judge shall cause the defendant to be held to answer to the circuit court; otherwise, the judge shall release the defendant from custody unless an information or indictment has been filed, in which event the defendant shall be released on recognizance subject to the condition that he or she appear at all court proceedings or shall be released under a summons to appear before the appropriate court at a time certain. Such release does not, however, void further prosecution by information or indictment but does prohibit any restraint on liberty other than appearing for trial. A finding that probable cause does or does not exist shall be made in writing, signed by the judge, and, together with the evidence received in the cause, shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court.
(c) Additional Nonadversary. Probable Cause Determinations and Preliminary Hearings. If there has been a finding of no probable cause at a nonadversary determination or adversary preliminary hearing, or if the specified time periods for holding a nonadversary probable cause determination have not been complied with, a judge may thereafter make a determination of probable cause at a nonadversary probable cause determination, in which event the defendant shall be retained in custody or returned to custody upon appropriate process issued by the judge. A defendant who has been retained in custody or returned to custody by such a determination shall be allowed an adversary preliminary hearing in all instances in which a felony offense is charged.
3.134. Time for Filing Formal Charges
The state shall file formal charges on defendants in custody by information, or indictment, or in the case of alleged misdemeanors by whatever documents constitute a formal charge, within 30 days from the date on which defendants are arrested or from the date of the service of capiases upon them. If the defendants remain uncharged, the court on the 30th day and with notice to the state shall:
(1) Order that the defendants automatically be released on their own recognizance on the 33rd day unless the state files formal charges by that date; or
(2) If good cause is shown by the state, order that the defendants automatically be released on their own recognizance on the 40th day unless the state files formal charges by that date.
In no event shall any defendants remain in custody beyond 40 days unless they have been formally charged with a crime.
3.140. Indictments; Informations
(a) Methods of Prosecution.
(1) Capital Crimes. An offense that may be punished by death shall be prosecuted by indictment.
(2) Other Crimes. The prosecution of all other criminal offenses shall be as follows: In circuit courts and county courts, prosecution shall be solely by indictment or information, except that prosecution in county courts for violations of municipal ordinances and metropolitan county ordinances may be by affidavit or docket entries and prosecutions for misdemeanors, municipal ordinances, and county ordinances may be by notice to appear issued and served pursuant to rule 3.125. A grand jury may indict for any offense. When a grand jury returns an indictment for an offense not triable in the circuit court, the circuit judge shall either issue a summons returnable in the county court or shall bail the accused for trial in the county court, and the judge, or at the judge's direction, the clerk of the circuit court, shall certify the indictment and file it in the records of the county court.
(b) Nature of Indictment or Information. The indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried shall be a plain, concise, and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged.
(c) Caption, Commencement, Date, and Personal Statistics.
(1) Caption. No formal caption is essential to the validity of an indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried. Upon objection made as to its absence a caption shall be prefixed in substantially the following manner: In the (name of court) State of Florida versus (name of defendant) Any defect, error, or omission in a caption may be amended as of course, at any stage of the proceeding, whether before or after a plea to the merits, by court order.
(2) Commencement. All indictments or informations on which the defendant is to be tried shall expressly state that the prosecution is brought in the name and by the authority of the State of Florida. Indictments shall state that the defendant is charged by the grand jury of the county. Informations shall state that the appropriate prosecuting attorney makes the charge.
(3) Date. Every indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried shall bear the date (day, month, year) that it is filed in each court in which it is so filed.
(4) Personal Statistics. Every indictment or information shall include the defendant's race, gender, date of birth, and social security number when any of these facts are known. Failure to include these facts shall not invalidate an otherwise sufficient indictment or information.
(d) The Charge.
(1) Allegation of Facts; Citation of Law Violated. Each count of an indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried shall allege the essential facts constituting the offense charged. In addition, each count shall recite the official or customary citation of the statute, rule, regulation, or other provision of law that the defendant is alleged to have violated. Error in or omission of the citation shall not be ground for dismissing the count or for a reversal of a conviction based thereon if the error or omission did not mislead the defendant to the defendant's prejudice.
(2) Name of Accused. The name of the accused person shall be stated, if known, and if not known, the person may be described by any name or description by which the person can be identified with reasonable certainty. If the grand jury, prosecuting attorney, or affiant making the charge does not know either the name of the accused or any name or description by which the accused can be identified with reasonable certainty, the indictment or information, as the case may be, shall so allege and the accused may be charged by a fictitious name.
(3) Time and Place. Each count of an indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried shall contain allegations stating as definitely as possible the time and place of the commission of the offense charged in the act or transaction or on 2 or more acts or transactions connected together, provided the court in which the indictment or information is filed has jurisdiction to try all of the offenses charged.
(4) Allegation of Intent to Defraud. If an intent to defraud is required as an element of the offense to be charged, it shall be sufficient to allege an intent to defraud, without naming therein the particular person or body corporate intended to be defrauded.
(e) Incorporation by Reference. Allegations made in 1 count shall not be incorporated by reference in another count.
(f) Endorsement and Signature; Indictment. An indictment shall be signed by the foreperson or the acting foreperson of the grand jury returning it. The state attorney or acting state attorney or an assistant state attorney shall make and sign a statement on the indictment to the effect that he or she has advised the grand jury returning the indictment as authorized and required by law. No objection to the indictment on the ground that the statement has not been made shall be entertained after the defendant pleads to the merits.
(g) Signature, Oath, and Certification; Information. An information charging the commission of a felony shall be signed by the state attorney, or a designated assistant state attorney, under oath stating his or her good faith in instituting the prosecution and certifying that he or she has received testimony under oath from the material witness or witnesses for the offense. An information charging the commission of a misdemeanor shall be signed by the state attorney, or a designated assistant state attorney, under oath stating his or her good faith in instituting the prosecution. No objection to an information on the ground that it was not signed or verified, as herein provided, shall be entertained after the defendant pleads to the merits.
(h) Conclusion. An indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried need contain no formal conclusion.
(i) Surplusage. An unnecessary allegation may be disregarded as surplusage and, on motion of the defendant, may be stricken from the pleading by the court.
(j) Amendment of Information. An information on which the defendant is to be tried that charges an offense may be amended on the motion of the prosecuting attorney or defendant at any time prior to trial because of formal defects.
(k) Form of Certain Allegations. Allegations concerning the following items may be alleged as indicated below:
(1) Description of Written Instruments. Instruments consisting wholly or in part of writing or figures, pictures, or designs may be described by any term by which they are usually known or may be identified, without setting forth a copy or facsimile thereof.
(2) Words; Pictures. Necessary averments relative to spoken or written words or pictures may be made by the general purport of such words or pictures without setting forth a copy or facsimile thereof.
(3) Judgments; Determinations; Proceedings. A judgment, determination, or proceeding of any court or official, civil or military, may be alleged generally in such a manner as to identify the judgment, determination, or proceeding, without alleging facts conferring jurisdiction on the court or official.
(4) Exceptions; Excuses; Provisos. Statutory exceptions, excuses, or provisos relative to offenses created or defined by statute need not be negatived by allegation.
(5) Alternative or Disjunctive Allegations. For an offense that may be committed by doing 1 or more of several acts, or by 1 or more of several means, or with 1 or more of several intents or results, it is permissible to allege in the disjunctive or alternative such acts, means, intents, or results.
(6) Offenses Divided into Degrees. For an offense divided into degrees it is sufficient to charge the commission of the offense without specifying the degree.
(7) Felonies. It shall not be necessary to allege that the offense charged is a felony or was done feloniously.
(l) Custody of Indictment or Information. Unless the defendant named therein has been previously released on a citation, order to appear, personal recognizance, or bail, or has been summoned to appear, or unless otherwise ordered by the court having jurisdiction, all indictments or informations and the records thereof shall be in the custody of the clerk of the court to which they are presented and shall not be inspected by any person other than the judge, clerk, attorney general, and prosecuting attorney until the defendant is in custody or until 1 year has elapsed between the return of an indictment or the filing of an information, after which time they shall be opened for public inspection.
(m) Defendant's Right to Copy of Indictment or Information. Each person who has been indicted or informed against for an offense shall, on application to the clerk, be furnished a copy of the indictment or information and the endorsements thereon, at least 24 hours before being required to plead to the indictment or information if a copy has not been so furnished. A failure to furnish a copy shall not affect the validity of any subsequent proceeding against the defendant if he or she pleads to the indictment or information.
(n) Statement of Particulars. The court, on motion, shall order the prosecuting attorney to furnish a statement of particulars when the indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried fails to inform the defendant of the particulars of the offense sufficiently to enable the defendant to prepare a defense. The statement of particulars shall specify as definitely as possible the place, date, and all other material facts of the crime charged that are specifically requested and are known to the prosecuting attorney, including the names of persons intended to be defrauded. Reasonable doubts concerning the construction of this rule shall be resolved in favor of the defendant.
(o) Defects and Variances. No indictment or information, or any count thereof, shall be dismissed or judgment arrested, or new trial granted on account of any defect in the form of the indictment or information or of misjoinder of offenses or for any cause whatsoever, unless the court shall be of the opinion that the indictment or information is so vague, indistinct, and indefinite as to mislead the accused and embarrass him or her in the preparation of a defense or expose the accused after conviction or acquittal to substantial danger of a new prosecution for the same offense.
3.150. Joinder of Offenses and Defendants
(a) Joinder of Offenses. Two or more offenses that are triable in the same court may be charged in the same indictment or information in a separate count for each offense, when the offenses, whether felonies or misdemeanors, or both, are based on the same act or transaction or on 2 or more connected acts or transactions.
(b) Joinder of Defendants. Two or more defendants may be charged in the same indictment or information on which they are to be tried when:
(1) each defendant is charged with accountability for each offense charged;
(2) each defendant is charged with conspiracy and some of the defendants are also charged with 1 or more offenses alleged to have been committed in furtherance of the conspiracy; or
(3) even if conspiracy is not charged and all defendants are not charged in each count, it is alleged that the several offenses charged were part of a common scheme or plan. Such defendants may be charged in 1 or more counts together or separately, and all of the defendants need not be charged in each count.
(c) Joint Representation. When 2 or more defendants have been jointly charged under rule 3.150(b) or have been joined for trial and are represented by the same attorney or by attorneys who are associated in the practice of law, the court shall, as soon as practicable, inquire into such joint representation and shall personally advise each defendant of the right to effective assistance of counsel, including separate representation. The court shall take such measures as are necessary to protect each defendant's right to counsel.
3.151. Consolidation of Related Offenses
(a) Related Offenses. For purposes of these rules, 2 or more offenses are related offenses if they are triable in the same court and are based on the same act or transaction or on 2 or more connected acts or transactions.
(b) Consolidation of Indictments or Informations. Two or more indictments or informations charging related offenses shall be consolidated for trial on a timely motion by a defendant or by the state. The procedure thereafter shall be the same as if the prosecution were under a single indictment or information. Failure to timely move for consolidation constitutes a waiver of the right to consolidation.
(c) Dismissal of Related Offenses after Trial. When a defendant has been tried on a charge of 1 of 2 or more related offenses, the charge of every other related offense shall be dismissed on the defendant's motion unless a motion by the defendant for consolidation of the charges has been previously denied, or unless the defendant has waived the right to consolidation, or unless the prosecution has been unable, by due diligence, to obtain sufficient evidence to warrant charging the other offense or offenses.
(d) Plea. A defendant may plead guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of 1 offense on the condition that other charges of related offenses be dismissed or that no charges of other related offenses be instituted. Should the court find that the condition cannot be fulfilled, the plea shall be considered withdrawn.
3.152. Severance of Offenses and Defendants
(a) Severance of Offenses.
(1) In case 2 or more offenses are improperly charged in a single indictment or information, the defendant shall have a right to a severance of the charges on timely motion.
(2) In case 2 or more charges of related offenses are joined in a single indictment or information, the court nevertheless shall grant a severance of charges on motion of the state or of a defendant:
(A) before trial on a showing that the severance is appropriate to promote a fair determination of the defendant's guilt or innocence of each offense; or
(B) during trial, only with defendant's consent, on a showing that the severance is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the defendant's guilt or innocence of each offense.
(b) Severance of Defendants.
(1) On motion of the state or a defendant, the court shall order a severance of defendants and separate trials:
(A) before trial, on a showing that the order is necessary to protect a defendant's right to a speedy trial, or is appropriate to promote a fair determination of the guilt or innocence of 1 or more defendants; or
(B) during trial, only with defendant's consent and on a showing that the order is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence of 1 or more defendants.
(2) If a defendant moves for a severance of defendants on the ground that an oral or written statement of a codefendant makes reference to him or her but is not admissible against him or her, the court shall determine whether the state will offer evidence of the statement at the trial. If the state intends to offer the statement in evidence, the court shall order the state to submit its evidence of the statement for consideration by the court and counsel for defendants and if the court determines that the statement is not admissible against the moving defendant, it shall require the state to elect 1 of the following courses:
(A) a joint trial at which evidence of the statement will not be admitted;
(B) a joint trial at which evidence of the statement will be admitted after all references to the moving defendant have been deleted, provided the court determines that admission of the evidence with deletions will not prejudice the moving defendant; or
(C) severance of the moving defendant.
(3) In cases in which, at the close of the state's case or at the close of all of the evidence, the evidence is not sufficient to support a finding that allegations on which the joinder of a defendant is based have been proved, the court shall, on motion of that defendant, grant a severance unless the court finds that severance is unnecessary to achieve a fair determination of that defendant's guilt or innocence.
3.153. Timeliness of Defendant'' Motion; Waiver
(a) Timeliness; Waiver. A defendant's motion for severance of multiple offenses or defendants charged in a single indictment or information shall be made before trial unless opportunity therefor did not exist or the defendant was not aware of the grounds for such a motion, but the court in its discretion may entertain such a motion at the trial. The right to file such a motion is waived if it is not timely made.
(b) Renewal of Motion. If a defendant's pretrial motion for severance is overruled, the defendant may renew the motion on the same grounds at or before the close of all the evidence at the trial.