Florida Criminal Procedure

Rules, Statutes, and Cases on Florida Criminal Procedure by Joe Bodiford, J.D., LL.M.

3.125. Notice to Appear

criminal defense

Rule 3.125. Notice to Appear 

(a)  Definition. –Unless indicated otherwise, notice to appear means a written order issued by a law enforcement officer in lieu of physical arrest requiring a person accused of violating the law to appear in a designated court or governmental office at a specified date and time.

(b)  By Arresting Officer. –If a person is arrested for an offense declared to be a misdemeanor of the first or second degree or a violation, or is arrested for violation of a municipal or county ordinance triable in the county, and demand to be taken before a judge is not made, notice to appear may be issued by the arresting officer unless:

(1) the accused fails or refuses to sufficiently identify himself or herself or supply the required information;

(2) the accused refuses to sign the notice to appear;

(3) the officer has reason to believe that the continued liberty of the accused constitutes an unreasonable risk of bodily injury to the accused or others;

(4) the accused has no ties with the jurisdiction reasonably sufficient to assure the accused’s appearance or there is substantial risk that the accused will refuse to respond to the notice;

(5) the officer has any suspicion that the accused may be wanted in any jurisdiction; or

(6) it appears that the accused previously has failed to respond to a notice or a summons or has violated the conditions of any pretrial release program.

(c)  By Booking Officer. –If the arresting officer does not issue notice to appear because of one of the exceptions listed in subdivision (b) and takes the accused to police headquarters, the booking officer may issue notice to appear if the officer determines that there is a likelihood that the accused will appear as directed, based on a reasonable investigation of the accused’s:

(1) residence and length of residence in the community;

(2) family ties in the community;

(3) employment record;

(4) character and mental condition;

(5) past record of convictions; or

(6) past history of appearance at court proceedings.

(d)  How and When Served. –If notice to appear is issued, it shall be prepared in quadruplicate. The officer shall deliver 1 copy of the notice to appear to the arrested person and the person, to secure release, shall give a written promise to appear in court by signing the 3 remaining copies: 1 to be retained by the officer and 2 to be filed with the clerk of the court. These 2 copies shall be sworn to by the arresting officer before a notary public or a deputy clerk. If notice to appear is issued under subdivision (b), the notice shall be issued immediately upon arrest. If notice to appear is issued under subdivision (c), the notice shall be issued immediately upon completion of the investigation. The arresting officer or other duly authorized official then shall release from custody the person arrested.

(e)  Copy to the Clerk of the Court. –With the sworn notice to appear, the arresting officer shall file with the clerk a list of witnesses and their addresses and a list of tangible evidence in the cause. One copy shall be retained by the officer and 2 copies shall be filed with the clerk of the court.

(f)  Copy to State Attorney. –The clerk shall deliver 1 copy of the notice to appear and schedule of witnesses and evidence filed therewith to the state attorney.

(g)  Contents. –If notice to appear is issued, it shall contain the:

(1) name and address of the accused;

(2) date of offense;

(3) offense(s) charged–by statute and municipal ordinance if applicable;

(4) counts of each offense;

(5) time and place that the accused is to appear in court;

(6) name and address of the trial court having jurisdiction to try the offense(s) charged;

(7) name of the arresting officer;

(8) name(s) of any other person(s) charged at the same time; and

(9) signature of the accused.

(h)  Failure to Appear. –If a person signs a written notice to appear and fails to respond to the notice to appear, a warrant of arrest shall be issued under rule 3.121.

(i)  Traffic Violations Excluded. –Nothing contained herein shall prevent the operation of a traffic violations bureau, the issuance of citations for traffic violations, or any procedure under chapter 316, Florida Statutes.

(j)  Rules and Regulations. –Rules and regulations of procedure governing the exercise of authority to issue notices to appear shall be established by the chief judge of the circuit.

(k)  Procedure by Court. 

(1) When the accused appears before the court under the requirements of the notice to appear, the court shall advise the defendant as set forth in rule 3.130(b), and the provisions of that rule shall apply. The accused at such appearance may elect to waive the right to counsel and trial and enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere by executing the waiver form contained on the notice to appear, and the court may enter judgment and sentence in the cause.

(2) In the event the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the court may set the cause for jury or nonjury trial on the notice to appear under the provisions of rules 3.140 and 3.160. When the court sets a trial date by the court, the clerk shall, without further praecipe, issue witness subpoenas to the law enforcement officer who executed the notice to appear and to the witnesses whose names and addresses appear on the list filed by the officer, requiring their attendance at trial.

(l)  Form of Notice to Appear and Schedule of Witnesses and Evidence. –The notice to appear and schedule of witnesses and evidence shall be in substantially the following form:



Agency Case #


In the name of           County, Florida: The undersigned certifies that he or
she has just and reasonable grounds to believe, and does believe, that:

On (date)        , at           ( )a.m. ( )p.m.

Last Name                     First
M.I.                                             Aliases

Street — City and State                                     Date and Place
of Birth

Phone   Race/Sex   Height  Weight  Hair    Eyes  Scars arks

Occupation         Place of Employment    Employment Phone

Complexion      Driver’s License #     Yr./St.   Social Security #

at (location)

in           County, Florida, committed the following offense(s):

(1)                   (2)

in violation of section(s):          :
( ) State Statute

( ) Municipal Ord.

DID (Narrative):

Name of Officer                                     ID

[ ] Mandatory appearance in court,               on     (date)    ,


at (date)               ( )a.m. ( )p.m.

[ ] You need not appear in court, but must comply with instructions on back.



Name                                     DOB                       Address

[ ] Cited
[ ] Jailed


Name                                     DOB                       Address

[ ] Cited
[ ] Jailed

If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to
participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact [identify applicable court personnel by name, address, and telephone number] at least 7 days before your scheduled court appearance, or immediately upon receiving this notification if the time before the scheduled appearance is less than 7 days; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711.


Signature of Defendant

I swear the above and reverse and attached statements are true and correct
to the best of my knowledge and belief.


Agency or Department

Sworn to and subscribed before me on (date)      .

Notary Public, State of Florida


If you desire to plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) and you
need not appear in court as indicated on the face of this notice, you may
present this notice at the county court named on the reverse of this page.

From (date)    ,    to (date)    ,


and pay a fine of       dollars in cash, money order, or certified check.

The waiver below must be completed and attached. Read carefully.

Your failure to answer this summons in the manner subscribed will
result in a warrant being issued on a separate and additional charge.

“In consideration of my not appearing in court, I the undersigned, do hereby enter my appearance on the affidavit for the offense charged on the other side of this notice and waive the reading of the affidavit in the above named cause and the right to be present at the trial of said action. I hereby enter my plea of Guilty [ ] or Nolo Contendere [ ], and waive my right to prosecute appeal or error proceedings.

“I understand the nature of the charge against me; I understand my right to have counsel and waive this right and the right to a continuance. I waive my right to trial before a judge or jury. I plead Guilty [ ] or Nolo Contendere [ ] to the charge, being fully aware that my signature to this plea will have the same effect as a judgment of this court.”

Total Fine and Cost

Defendant Signature




Agency Case #

Last Name                     First
M.I.                                             Aliases


(date of notice to appear)      . Offense(s):


TANGIBLE EVIDENCE: (If none, write “None”)
Obtained from (person and/or place):
first received by:
given to:

WITNESSES: (If none, write “None”)

#1 Name:
Res. Tel. No.        Address:
Bus. Tel. No.        Business:

#2 Name:
Res. Tel. No.        Address:
Bus. Tel. No.        Business:

#3 Name:

Res. Tel. No.        Address:
Bus. Tel. No.        Business:

I certify that the foregoing is a complete list of witnesses and evidence known to me.

Investigating Officer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: