How is Bond Decided for Someone Arrested for a Crime in Florida?

February 20, 2023 Criminal Defense

When a person is arrested for a crime in Florida, there is a specific process they must go through to determine whether a judge will grant them bail or bond. Bail is the amount of money set by the judge as a security to ensure the defendant will appear for their trial. Bond is the pledge by the bondsman to promise the defendant’s presence in all courtroom appearances.

In some cases, a judge may not allow the arrested person to leave the jail cell until their appointed court date. However, every Florida citizen has a Constitutional right to pretrial release on reasonable conditions.

This article will provide information on the process of bail and bond, along with an example case of a man who was not granted Bond in a recent Florida shooting.

How does a Judge decide who receives bail or who remains in jail?

In Florida, judges make decisions about bail based on a variety of factors, including the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, their ties to the community, and their likelihood to flee or pose a danger to the community.

Under Article I, Section 14 of Florida’s Constitution, every citizen of our State is entitled to be released before trial on reasonable conditions. However, this Constitutional right is balanced against the need to protect the community against dangerous persons, having the accused present during their trial, and assuring the integrity of the judicial process.

Similarly, if the accused is charged with a capital offense or an offense that could be punished by life in prison and the accused’s guilt is evident or the presumption is great, then their presumption of pretrial release is superseded by these factors.

Here are some of the key factors that judges typically consider when deciding whether to grant bail or keep a defendant in jail:

  • Nature and Severity of the Offense: Judges will consider the type of crime the defendant is accused of committing and the potential danger that crime poses to the community. If the crime is particularly violent or serious, the judge may be more inclined to deny bail.
  • Criminal History: Judges will also take into account the defendant’s criminal record, including any prior convictions or open cases. A prior record of violent or serious crimes may lead the judge to deny bail.
  • Flight Risk: Judges will evaluate whether the defendant is likely to flee if released on bail. Factors such as family ties, employment status, and community involvement can all affect the judge’s decision.
  • Public Safety: Judges may consider whether the defendant poses a risk to public safety if released on bail. If the defendant is deemed to be a threat to the community, the judge may deny bail.
  • Ability to Pay: Judges may also consider the defendant’s ability to pay bail. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits excessive bail, and judges must set bail at a reasonable amount that the defendant can afford.

Overall, judges in Florida weigh a variety of factors to determine whether to grant bail or keep a defendant in jail.

The decision ultimately rests on the individual circumstances of the case and the judge’s assessment of the defendant’s risk to the community. To find out more about Florida bail bonds, read our informative page here.

What is the Process for a Judge to decide the detained person’s bond?

In Florida, judges use a specific process to determine an arrested person’s bond. Florida Statute Section 903 covers all the basics on bail, bond, and the determination the court must consider. This process typically involves the following steps:

  1. First Appearance – After an arrest, the defendant must be brought before a judge for a “first appearance” within 24 hours of the arrest. At this hearing, the judge will inform the defendant of the charges against them and advise them of their rights.
  2. Bond Hearing – The next step is a bond hearing, during which the judge will determine the defendant’s bond amount. The purpose of a bond is to ensure that the defendant appears in court for future hearings and their trial. The judge will consider the factors mentioned in my previous answer to decide the bond amount.
  3. Bond Amount – If the judge decides to set a bond amount, they will consider the nature of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, flight risk, and potential danger to the community. The bond amount may be set as cash, a surety bond, or a property bond.
  4. Bond Conditions – The judge may also impose conditions on the bond, such as requiring the defendant to surrender their passport, wear an electronic monitoring device, or attend regular check-ins with a probation officer.
  5. Appeals – If the defendant or their attorney disagrees with the judge’s bond determination, they may request a bond hearing to appeal the decision.

It is important to note that the process for determining Bond in Florida can vary slightly depending on the circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction in which the arrest occurred. If you are concerned or confused about your bond or a loved one’s criminal offense, contact a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Recent Case in Key West

A judge in Monroe County denied Lloyd Preston Brewer III, 57, from bonding out of jail. Brewer was arrested for fatally shooting 21-year-old Garrett Hughes outside of a Key West shopping center on February 13th, 2023.

According to the report, Brewer became angry when he noticed Hughes urinating on the side of the building around 12:30 am. Hughes had been standing outside of Conch Town Liquor and Lounge when the shooting took place. Brewer claimed to own the bar, but after checking property records authorities found records of him owning the building in which the bar was contained.

Hughes was rushed to the hospital by Key West Fire Rescue, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries. When questioned by the police, Brewer claimed that the shooting was in self-defense. However, video surveillance showed the defendant—who was also drunk—getting out of his car to confront the unarmed Hughes.

“[Hughes] is kind of stumbling around and [Brewer] pulls up his shirt, pulls out a gun and pumps a shot into his stomach,” said Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward.

Brewer was taken into custody at the Monroe County Jail and charged with a second-degree murder charge and a weapons charge. The Monroe County Judge spoke with Brewer via video on Tuesday, in which he declared that the defendant remains in jail without bond.

“I think it would serve justice to go ahead and allow Brewer to remain incarcerated,” Brewer’s attorney Don Yates said in court.

Hughes was remembered as a star athlete at Key West High School where his father was the head coach of the football team. The following is a statement from Monroe County School District Superintendent Theresa Axford:

“We are grieving for Coach John Hughes, his wife Tiffany and Garrett’s mother Lesley Touzalin. He was an extraordinary young man whose commitment to our students and our athletic programs was deeply appreciated. He is an incredible loss to us and the community. Our prayers and love go to the family as well as all who knew and loved Garrett.”

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting arrested and detained by the police can be extremely stressful for any person. Navigating the legal world and figuring out if and when you can place bond may be confusing to someone who is not familiar with the field of law. This is why it is especially important for any person who has been arrested in Florida to reach out to a defense attorney. A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to walk you through all of the processes leading up to and during trial, while making sure all of your rights are protected.

Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience representing clients across the state. Regardless of your age, background, or criminal offense, Pumphrey Law is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

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