All About Florida Bail Bonds

July 7, 2021 Criminal Defense

Getting arrested does not mean you will spend a significant amount of time in jail following your arrest. In Florida, after a person is booked into jail, there may be a bond set by a judge on the arresting papers. If so, that person is eligible to be released from jail by paying bail. Bail is a refundable deposit that allows someone who has been arrested for a crime to be released from jail before their trial date. Florida Statute § 903.011 defines bail as “any and all forms of pretrial release.” This is commonly money or property that is offered as collateral to ensure that you will appear in court on your scheduled trial date.   

Bail vs. Bond: What’s the Difference?

Bail is the monetary amount set by the judge that is put up as security to assure that the defendant will appear for trial. This amount varies according to the crime.

A bond is the bondsman’s pledge to the courts that the defendant will be present at every required court appearance. In Florida, the bail bondsman will put up the full amount of the bond with the court and, in return, is paid a 10% nonrefundable fee. If the defendant misses an appearance, the bondsman will attempt to locate the defendant and return them to jail. If the bondsman is not able to locate the defendant within 60 days, he will be required to pay the full amount of the bond.

Bail Hearing

Before getting out of jail, a bond must be granted by a judge. After an arrest, the judge can set a bail amount, along with other conditions of release. Florida Statute § 903.046(2) provides several factors that the court considers when determining whether to release a defendant on bail. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. The nature and circumstances of the offense charged.
  2. The weight of the evidence against the defendant.
  3. The defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, and mental condition.
  4. The defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings.
  5. The nature and probability of danger which the defendant’s release poses to the community.

What Are Your Options?

  • Stay in jail and await disposition of the case;
  • Stay in jail and wait for a bond reduction hearing if the bond is larger than you can or are willing to pay;
  • Put up the full amount of the bond in cash (this can be paid by anyone);
  • Call a bondsman, who will charge 10% of the face amount of the bond.

What Happens to the Money?

When a person pays the full amount of the bond in cash, most of this money is returned when the case is over. A cash bond will be used to pay court fees, court costs, and criminal penalties as dictated by Florida Statute Section 903.286. If sufficient funds are not available to pay unpaid costs, the clerk of court will either obtain payment from the defendant or enroll the defendant in a payment plan. When a person uses a bail bondsman, the 10% fee will not be returned.

What Happens if the Court Denies Bond?

Judges may deny bond if it can be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the individual charged would pose an imminent threat to the community. If the court initially denies bond, an attorney may file a motion to set a reasonable bond and set a motion for a bond hearing to offer evidence to challenge this determination. Click here to learn more about emergency bond hearings. At the bond hearing, the court will consider the nature and seriousness of the charges, the amount of evidence against the accused, and the accused’s ties to the community. There is a greater chance of setting a reasonable bond when the charge is less serious, there is less evidence, and the accused has strong ties to the local community. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee today to assist with your bond hearing.

Hire an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

The Pumphrey Law legal team is ready to fight to get you or your loved one released from custody as soon as possible. Don Pumphrey and the firm have more than two decades of combined legal experience with the Florida criminal justice system. Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your rights during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

This article was written by Caroline Calavan

Caroline Calavan Pumphrey Law

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