The first pleading that you should file in any case is your Notice of Appearance.
All in One Notice of Appearance
The example below is a “Combined Notice of Appearance.” So it combines all of the following into one page:
- Notice of Appearance of Counsel;
- Waiver of Arraignment;
- Written Plea of Not Guilty;
- Demand for Discovery;
- Reservation of Rights Pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(c);
- Demand for a trial by jury.
This is a typical pleading that I file in the beginning of every case. However, you may want to modify it according to your Judicial Circuit.
Know Your Local Rules and Policies
Some prosecutors state that you waive your client’s eligibility to enter into a diversion if you demand discovery. Accordingly, you need to remove the demand for discovery if your client is seeking a diversion. Some state attorneys require that a diversion be agreed upon at arraignment. You need to remove the waiver of arraignment and written plea of not guilty if that is the case. Consider submitting a Notice of Appearance without any of the other provisions if the state attorney has not filed charges.
You can still run into trouble filing standard forms if you do not know your local rules of procedure and the policies of the local state attorney. So if you are just starting out, look before you leap. The best thing you can do is to ask another attorney who has experience in that circuit. Every attorney has his or her own forms that they use. Look at those forms, you can use this one, use another form, but eventually, you will come up with your own.
Pay careful attention to motions and reservations of rights in the various forms you see. Those are included due to an attorney’s past experiences. These seemingly innocuous phrases represent “lessons learned” by that attorney.
This form is for use by attorneys only. You need to file a waiver of the right to an attorney if you are representing yourself pro se. While we are on that topic, I would like to remind you how much of a bad idea it is to represent yourself.