A misdemeanor is a criminal offense, less serious than a felony and is usually punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture or confinement in a county jail. The maximum punishment can be up to one year.
If an arrest on a misdemeanor offense occurs the defendant is booked into the county jail. Most, but not all, misdemeanor offenses are bondable. A judge usually sees individuals arrested on misdemeanors within twenty-four (24) hours of their arrest. At first appearance bail is set and the courts determine whether the accused can pay for counsel. A Public Defender will be appointed if the defendant is found to be indigent (unable to pay for counsel) or the defendant may hire private counsel.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is a hearing where a defendant is advised of the charges file against him/her and allowed to enter a plea. If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest you will be sentenced at that time. If you plea not guilty your case will be set for the next court date which is called Pre-Trial Conference. If you have an attorney, he/she may enter a written plea of not guilty on your behalf and waive your appearance at the arraignment. However, be sure to check with your attorney as to whether you must appear.
How can I change my arraignment court date?
The Clerk’s Office cannot change a court date. If there is a problem with your date, you may want to consult an attorney, otherwise, failure to appear could result in a capias being issued for your arrest.
What will happen if I fail to appear?
Any Defendant who fails to appear as required by the Court may have his or her bail revoked and a warrant/capias issued for his/her arrest.
What if I can not pay my fine?
The Clerk’s Office cannot pardon, defer or alter fines imposed by the Court. If you are having a problem and are on probation, you must contact your probation officer. If you are not on probation, you must contact the office of the Judge that sentenced you.
What forms of payment do you take?
If you are mailing your payment, please submit a money order or cashier’s check and a copy of the paperwork you received in court. If you would like to pay in person, you may come to the first floor of the Clerk of Courts Office room 110.
Bay County Clerk’s Office
300 East 4th Street
Panama City, FL 32401
Email the Misdemeanor office