What is a “calendar call” or “judicial sounding” in Miami-Dade County or Broward County?

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7th Jul 2015

People unfamiliar with the Miami-Dade County or Broward County criminal court system may get court notices or are instructed to appear in court for their “calendar call” also known as a “judicial sounding” and they often ask ‘ What is that ?”

Keep in mind that when criminal charges are filed, a court has to do something with the case.  The criminal case cannot go to trial too quickly because a proper investigation must be conducted.  Major decisions like entering into a plea, arguing motions to suppress and moving to dismiss also take some time to properly prepare.  Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal courts often regularly hold hearings called “calendar calls” or “judicial soundings” just to see where each party is in the preparation and analysis of their case.  Issues addressed at these hearings can be;

– Can the case be worked out to a plea bargain?

– Is the client eligible for a first offender “pre-trial diversion” program?

–  Is the prosecution looking to treat the case in a more serious enhanced manner than with other cases (like if they designate an accused as a repeat offender?

– Is there a likelihood that the case will go to trial and how long will it take for both sides to prepare to be ready and

–  other administrative issues.

In some South Florida jurisdictions, a client accused of a misdemeanor or felony offense may be excused from appearing at these hearings provided that;

– they have a private attorney;

–   permission from the court and

–  sign a mandated “waiver of appearance”.

NOTE, issues or whether to be in court must be expressively discussed with an attorney.

If a person is accused of a crime and is out of custody, then these calendar calls may be just a matter of routine and not very significant hearings.

However, if person is incarcerated than this, and any court appearance, are important since there may be a potential to get out of custody.