COUNTY COURT

County court is for adults accused of committing crimes punishable by up to a year in jail. These can range from driving without a license to battery to driving under the influence. County court divisions are mainly located in downtown West Palm Beach at the Main Judicial Complex. There are also division at the Criminal Justice Complex in West Palm Beach along with West County, South County and North County court houses.

County Court Public Defenders
County Division trial lawyers represent the vast majority of clients charged with misdemeanors. These attorneys appear in court every day and handle all aspects of the case from start to finish. They collaborate with the Social Services and Mental Health divisions to tackle the issues presented by each unique case. Whether a case calls for plea negotiations or a jury trial, County Division attorneys work with their clients in an effort to achieve the best possible outcome.

Specialty Divisions: our attorneys also represent clients in Domestic Violence court and DUS Court.

  • Domestic Violence Division
    If you are charged with a domestic case, your court hearings will be in Courtroom 2C, the second floor of the downtown West Palm Beach Courthouse. If you receive a diversion program that requires anger management classes or batterer’s intervention program classes, they must be done IN PERSON. You must speak with your attorney to find appropriate locations.
  • DUS Division
    If your case is in DUS Court, your court hearings will be held in Courtroom 1 at the Gun Club Road courthouse facilities. Court is in the afternoon. This division is intended to help those who qualify obtain their licenses.

What to Expect
A person accused of committing a misdemeanor crime may receive a notice to appear in court, be arrested at the time of the crime, or later if a warrant is issued.

  • Notice to appear: If the accused receives a notice to appear, it will include the date, time, and location at which they must appear in court. On that date, the accused will fill out a financial affidavit and, if they qualify, the judge will appoint the Office of the Public Defender to represent him or her.
  • When arrested: Within 24 hours of arrest, the accused will attend a court hearing called “First Appearance.” On that date, the accused will fill out a financial affidavit and, if they qualify, the judge will appoint the Office of the Public Defender to represent him or her. The judge will set or deny a bond depending on the charges and the accused’s personal circumstances. For those who are unable to post their bond, an attorney will meet with them in a timely fashion.

Arraignment: This is the court date where the accused is formally noticed of the charges and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the client enters a plea of not guilty, a future court date will be set.

Case Disposition: This is the court date where the assigned attorney will receive evidence (also called “discovery”) and review it. The attorney will also discuss possible plea resolutions with the client and the prosecutor. Depending on the circumstances, the State may offer a deferred prosecution agreement, which, if successfully completed will result in the State dropping the charges. The client should talk to his or her attorney before accepting any plea. If no plea agreement is reached, the judge will set the case for trial.

Unless informed by your attorney, your presence is required at every court date. Failure to be on time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.

How do I find out who my attorney is?
Please call our office at (561) 355-7500 to obrain that information. Alternatively, you can call the clerk’s office at (561) 355-2996. You may also look up your case to see who your attorney is at http://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/ and select “Search Court Records.” Please have your case number ready.

What should I wear to court?
Please dress in a respectful manner. If you have questions or concerns about attire, contact your attorney who is happy to assist you.

What if I am going to be late to court?
If you know you are going to be late to court inform your attorney as soon as possible. You can do so by calling our office at (561) 355-7500 and informing your attorney’s secretary.

What happens if I don’t show up to court or am late?
Unless otherwise directed by your attorney or the judge, you must appear for all court dates. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest and forfeiture of your bond.

Should I speak with the prosecutor, officer, or victim involved in my case?
You should only speak with your attorney about your case. Anything you say to anyone besides your attorney about your case can and will be used against you in court.

How will my case resolve?
How your case may resolves depends on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: the facts of the case and your criminal history. Discuss with your attorney before taking any plea agreements.

Deferred prosecution agreement (DPA): An agreement requiring completion of certain conditions in exchange for the prosecutor dismissing the case. It is not an admission of guilt.

Plea and pass agreement (P&P): An agreement where you plead guilty and in exchange, your sentencing is passed for a period of time, up to a year. During that time, you will be required to complete several conditions. If you complete those conditions before your time is up, your case will be dismissed. If you do not complete the terms, then you may be convicted of the crime along with other sanctions.

Plea agreement: You may choose to accept a prosecutor’s plea agreement or plea to the court. By pleading, you will likely be accepting some sanctions for the crime charged, including, but not limited to: a conviction, a withhold of adjudication, court costs, fines, probation, or jail time.

Trial: If you decide to take your case to trial, you should discuss with your attorney the potential consequences if the jury finds you guilty, whether you want to testify, and other matters that may impact this decision. At trial, you are presumed innocence and the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have records that may help your case, you should make a copy of that documentation and give it to your attorney.

I completed “X” term of my DPA/P&P or I have documentation that may help the case.
If you complete a term of any program you are on, it is important that you keep documentation for yourself and give a copy to your attorney. If you lose your documentation, you may not be able to obtain another copy.

I am on a deferred prosecution agreement/plea and pass. Where do I complete my conditions?
Please speak with your attorney to find out what you specifically need to do and where to go. (561) 355-7500.

Here are some resources to aid you in completing your agreement.

Anger management classes: http://www.successwithlogan.com/ or any other similar classes.

Parenting classes: http://www.loganparentingclasses.com/ or any other similar classes.

Drug and alcohol classes: http://www.logancourtclasses.com/ or any other similar classes.

Theft classes: http://www.logantheftclasses.com/ or any other similar classes.

Traffic/Driving classes: https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/education-courses/commercial-driving-schools/basic-driver-improvement-course-providers/ provides a list of DHSMV approved classes.

Prostitution diversion classes: http://www.loganinstitute.com/ or any other similar classes.

DUI School: https://www.metrotrafficschool.com/

Victim Impact Panel: Go to http://www.madd.org/, click on “Victim Impact Panels” on the top right corner, enter your location, and then register for the nearest class. Alternatively, you can complete the online version at http://youimpact.com/.