Downtown Tampa




Court Case Progression



"In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall, upon demand, be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, and shall be furnished a copy of the charges, and shall have the right to have compulsory process for witnesses, to confront at trial adverse witnesses, to be heard in person, by counsel or both, and to have a speedy and public trial by impartial jury in the county where the crime was committed….” (Article One, Section Sixteen, Florida Constitution.)


The Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, Florida Evidence Code, and Case Law are each spheres of influence that impact the life and progression of a criminal case from the beginning to the end.

Florida Statute 775.15 outlines how long an individual must be concerned with being prosecuted for as-yet undetected acts committed by him or her in the past, or how long he or she must live under a cloud of suspicion during a pending investigation by law enforcement. The provisions are very detailed and should be read carefully before assuming that one can no longer be prosecuted for actions that are deemed criminal in nature.  In some instances, the cloud never lifts.


Unless a law enforcement officer happens to witness an individual commit a crime, criminal cases generally begin with a pre-arrest investigation. When the investigation reaches the point where law enforcement believes they have a factual and legal basis to move against an individual, they will make an arrest and/or ask the prosecutor’s office to file formal charges. After an individual has his or her arraignment on the charges, the discovery process begins.  During the discovery process, an accused has the right to file any pretrial motions he or she believes will aid in the defense against the charges. When the discovery process has been completed and all motions are resolved, the accused may choose to maintain his or her not-guilty plea and proceed to trial.



For more information about the progression of a case, please click on the photos below to read more about the various stages.


#1  Pre-Arrest Investigation and Arrest

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#3  Discovery Process

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#5  Trial

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#2  Formal Charges and Arraignment

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#4  Pretrial Motions

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