Felony Court Public Defenders
Felony Division trial lawyers represent the vast majority of Public Defender clients charged with felonies. These attorneys appear in court almost every day, and handle all aspects of their assigned cases 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, Felony Division attorneys work with their clients in an effort to achieve the best possible outcome. The Office also has assistant public defenders assigned to handle particularly serious felonies in each felony division.
What to Expect
A person accused of committing a felony crime may receive a notice to appear in court or may be arrested at the time of the crime, or later pursuant to a warrant.
The State has 30 days from the arrest or issuance of a notice to appear to file formal charges. If the State files formal charges, the client’s next court date is “Arraignment.” At Arraignment, the client will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the client enters a not guilty plea, a future court date will be set.
Before and during the next court date, the assigned attorney will receive discovery and review it with the client. The attorney will also discuss possible plea resolutions with the client and the prosecutor. Depending on the circumstances, the State may offer pre-trial intervention (PTI), which, if successfully completed can 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.
Prior to trial, the client may be interviewed by an investigator from the Public Defender’s office. The investigator will assist the attorney in gathering information related to the case and locate and interview witnesses. The attorney may file pre-trial motions to include or exclude certain evidence. The attorney will also determine if expert witnesses are necessary for the case.
When the state is seeking the death penalty or a client faces the possibility of life without parole, these cases go to the Major Crimes Division. A team of veteran attorneys, investigators and mitigation specialists handle these cases and in many instances work with a variety of outside experts and social workers toward the resolution of these cases.
Bond Schedule - for the scheduled bond based on type of charge:
Clerk’s Office - for information about a specific case: http://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/criminalcourt.aspx
15th Judicial Circuit - for information about a specific courtroom or division:
PBSO Jail Visitation - for information about jail visitation in Palm Beach County: https://www.pbso.org/inside-pbso/corrections/visitation/
Florida Department of Corrections - for information about an inmate in a Florida prison, or felony probationer: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/
Florida DOC Probation - for information about felony probation: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/comcor/15.html
Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County - for non-criminal legal matters:
Sealing or Expunging Your Record - for information about sealing or expunging your record: Ginna Leon, Re Entry Paralegal, Office of The Public Defender, (561) 355-7655 Gleon@pd15.org
Collateral Consequences - for information about other consequences of a conviction in Florida, see: http://www.pdmiami.com/ConsequencesManual.pdf
Parking or Directions - for parking or directions to the Main Courthouse:.