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Formal Charges in Florida

Being arrested in Florida does not necessarily mean that a person will be charged with a crime. After an arrest, a prosecutor at the state or federal level, depending on the crime, will look at a case file and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to file formal charges.

A Florida prosecutor may file formal charges using an information, indictment, or a notice to appear.  Under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.134, the State must file formal charges within thirty (30) days from the day of which the defendant was arrested.

Attorney for Formal Charges in Gainesville, FL

The attorneys at Galigani Law Firm have years of experienced fighting for the rights of criminal defendants and are dedicated to providing the best possible defense. Our lawyers are very familiar with the intricacies of charging documents and when formal charges should be filed against the defendant. They are also skilled negotiators who will fight to have your charges dropped prior to formal charges are even filed.

With offices located at ,  just minutes from the University of Florida campus, we represent clients throughout the Gainesville Metropolitan Area including the surrounding counties like Bradford County, Union County, Putnam County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Columbia County, and Marion County, Florida.

If you or someone you know in Gainesville, Starke, Lake Butler, Palatka, Oscala, Bronson, Trenton, or any other city throughout the Gainesville Metropolitan Area, has been charged with a crime and requires representation after formal charges have been filed, then contact the experienced attorneys of Galigani Law Firm.

Submit a free evaluation form or call (352) 375-0812 to speak one-on-one with an experienced criminal defense attorney.


Overview of Formal Charges in Alachua County


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Florida Information Document

For felony cases in Florida, the charging document most commonly used is the information. The State has thirty (30) days from the date of the defendant's arrest to bring formal charges.

If no charges are brought by the twenty-first (21st) day of a defendant being in custody, then the defendant may request release from the court, or he or she may request a preliminary hearing.

Moreover, under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.134, if the State fails to charge a defendant by the 30th day, the State must do one of the following:

  1. order that the defendant is automatically released on their own recognizance (ROR) on the 33rd day; or
  1. if the State shows good cause, then the defendant must automatically be released on their own recognizance (ROR) by the 40th

Under Florida law, no defendant shall remain in custody beyond forty (40) days unless he or she has been formally charged with a crime.


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How Indictments Work

With some state crimes and all federal crimes, the prosecutor will file formal charges using an indictment.

In Florida, any offense that may be punished by death must be prosecuted by an indictment. In order to obtain an indictment, the prosecutor must present his or her case to a grand jury. Florida requires that grand juries consist of between fifteen (15) and twenty-one (21) people.

Information and indictments are not the only ways, however, to bring formal charges against an individual under Florida law.


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Other Ways to File Formal Charges

Specifically, in circuit courts and in county courts, the Florida prosecutor must file criminal charges by an indictment or an information.

Municipal ordinance violations and misdemeanors in Florida, however, do not have to be filed by indictment or information. Pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.125, prosecutions for misdemeanors, municipal ordinances, and county ordinances may be filed by notices to appear.


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Additional Information

Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure – Visit the official website of the Florida Bar for a full list of Florida Criminal Procedure Rules, including the procedure for conducting formal charges, charging individuals with crimes by indictments, information, or notices to appear under Florida law.


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Attorney for Formal Charges in Alachua County, Florida

Regardless of whether you were formally charged with an information, an indictment, or a notice to appear, being charged with a Florida crime is stressful and intense. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will walk through the Florida criminal process with you and explain your rights and solutions to have your charges dropped.

At Galigani Law Firm, we represent clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in various criminal practice areas such as violent crimes, drug crimes, theft crimes, etc… Our office is located at , just minutes from the University of Florida campus, we represent clients throughout the Gainesville Metropolitan Area including the surrounding counties like Bradford County, Union County, Putnam County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Columbia County, and Marion County, Florida.

If you were arrested in Starke, Lake Butler, Oscala, Bronson, Trenton, or Lake City, Florida, call or office immediately for pre-trial representation.

Submit a free evaluation form or call (352) 375-0812 to speak one-on-one with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

This article was last updated on Thursday, July 06, 2017.


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