Every place does The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure differently
The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure are followed (to some degree) by all criminal courts in Florida, both in county and circuit courts. If you have a rule issue, consult these pages. While the rules are uniform, the application is not. In other words, every jurisdiction is different. Some are more strict in adherence, others are more relaxed.
Note, not all places in Florida use the same language to describe happenings in courts. For example, the “first appearance” hearing is referred to as just that in some places. In other courts, it’s called a “preliminary presentation” hearing, or “PP court”. Some courts also use it as an arraignment.
There are other issues with the entry of pleas. While there is NO provision in the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure for a “plea form”, most courts require one. A “plea form” is simply the written version of what the charge is, what the agreed plea is, and a list of all the rights one has in criminal court. Some plea forms are comprehensive and all-inclusive. Others are poorly done and full of typo-s! Some judges don’t use them at all (a rare practice most found in county courts).
Figuring out local practices
The best practice is to look for a listing of the local rules. Most courts have it on a website. The next best thing is to ask a long-time practitioner in the jurisdiction. As a final attempt to figure it out, you can contact the office of the chief judge and inquire.
The bottom line is that “rules are rules”, but “my rules” and “your rules” may be slightly different. It is up to you to figure it out. If you need help with the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, give us a call.