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Do You Have a Right to Reasonable Bail?

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Handcuffs and cash under a judge's gavel

If you have been arrested for a state of Florida offense you are entitled to a bond hearing. You may be eligible for release on your own personal recognizance or on bail. If bail is set too high, you may ask for a reduction of bail.

What Does Personal Recognizance Mean?

Personal recognizance means the pretrial release of a defendant from jail without bail. The defendant agrees to show up in court. A defendant is released upon some conditions without a bond.

What is Bail?

Bail is a set amount of money that someone must pay as insurance that the defendant will appear in court. Defendants have the option to pay their bail in cash. Because bail is often too high, most defendants are unable to post bail. Defendants often call a bail bondsman who posts a bail bond for them.

What is a Bail Bond?

A bail bond is a type of surety bond that secures the release of a defendant from jail. A bail bond guarantees that a defendant will appear for trial.

How do Bail Bonds Work?

To post a bail bond, a defendant is usually required to pay a bail bondsman 10% of the bail amount. The bondsman may require collateral.

If a defendant fails to appear in court the bond is forfeited and the court requires the bondsman to pay the remaining 90% of the bail.

If a defendant appears in court for the conclusion of the case, the bail bond is dissolved and the collateral is returned to the person who posted it. The bail bondsman keeps the 10% cash fee.

How to get a Bail Bond

Florida law provides that “every person charged with a crime . . . shall be entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions,” Art. I, § 14, Florida Constitution, subject to two exceptions.

The first exception is the pretrial detention exception: “if no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained.” Art. I, § 14, Florida Constitution.

The second exception is the capital or life offense exception: pretrial release may be denied to an accused who is “charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great. . . .” Art. I, § 14, Florida Constitution.

Article I, Section 14 of the Florida Constitution provides:

Until adjudged guilty, every person charged with a crime or violation of municipal or county ordinance shall be entitled to release on reasonable bail with sufficient surety unless charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great.

When a defendant is not charged with a capital offense or offense punishable by life imprisonment, he is entitled to bail. A defendant is also entitled to reasonable bail. Depending upon the financial circumstances of the defendant, excessive bail is the same as no bail.

Why Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

In addition to a defendant’s financial circumstances, there is a number of other things to be considered in setting bail, and each case depends on its own facts. Factors to be considered in determining the amount of bail include:

  • the nature of the offense and the penalty for it,
  • the character and strength of the evidence or probability of guilt,
  • the probability of the accused appearing at trial,
  • his accessibility to means of flight,
  • his family ties and employment,
  • the length and stability of his residence in the community,
  • the prior record of the accused in responding to process,
  • whether the accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested,
  • whether the accused is under bond for appearance at trial in other cases,
  • his respect for the law,
  • the accused’s character and reputation,
  • and the state of his health.

Section 903.046, Florida Statutes provides that the purpose of bail is to ensure the appearance of the criminal defendant at subsequent proceedings and to protect the community against unreasonable danger from the criminal defendant.

Rule 3.131, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure states that the judicial officer shall impose the first condition of release enumerated in the rule which will reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process. Excessive bail is tantamount to a denial of bail.

Bail is basic to our system of law. Doubts, whether it should be granted or denied, should always be resolved in favor of the defendant.

If you or a loved one have been arrested and would like to be released from incarceration while awaiting trial you are entitled to a bond hearing and may be released on reasonable bail. Contact a criminal defense lawyer and request a bond hearing. The attorneys at Fernandez and Hernandez have experience with bond hearings and will work vigorously to get you a reasonable bond.

If you need legal assistance with a bond hearing to call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229 5353.

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez defends individuals charged with a misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area and the State of Florida. With more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and hundreds of jury trials, Daniel earned tremendous accolades from judges, other lawyers, defendants, and even jurors. Daniel started his legal career as a state prosecutor and became the chief of the Narcotics division before opening his own law practice in 1985.

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Recent Reviews

Irene Meadows
Irene Meadows
21:56 11 Dec 19
If you need an attorney who is compassionate, knowledgeable and will be there every step of the way for you and your family during a difficult and challenging time in your life, you have made the right decision with Daniel Fernandez and his staff. Mr. Daniel Fernandez and his staff treat you like a member of their family. My husband and I would highly recommend you contact the law office of Daniel J. Fernandez. You will be glad you did.read more
A Google User
A Google User
14:27 11 Dec 19
Great Experience, attorney Daniel J Fernandez was extremely kind, and explained everything in great detail. The staff at the office was excellent! Great experience would recommend the attorney to anyone.read more
Luella Nelson
Luella Nelson
23:30 10 Dec 19
Attorney Daniel Fernandez My daughter was facing a few issues that was going to effect her for a very long time. I did not know which direction to turn or what to do. I googled 5 star attorney's and Mr. Fernandez's name displayed. I called his office and spoke to his paralegal Austin. He was very kind, understanding and gave me peace of mind just by speaking to me. I then met Mr. Fernandez shortly thereafter. This Attorney is very kind, compassionate, understanding and truly cares about his clients. His proven results were simply phenomenal. He basically saved my daughter from going away for a very long time instead she is going to receive some medical treatment and soon released with a short period of supervision. Afterwards Mr. Fernandez sat down with me and explained the out come and also has a plan for her moving forward. I know that each situation is different however this attorney not only has proven results he cares and looks for cures for his clients. If your in need of an attorney for any situation I suggest that you call Attorney Daniel Fernandez. I assure you that you will not be disappointed. -----Original Message-----read more
Joe Blanco
Joe Blanco
01:48 07 Dec 19
Daniel Fernandez is by far the best criminal defense attorney in the Tampa Bay area. I have used Mr. Fernandez for several years to help my son with several issues he has faced. He compassionate, informative, and reliable. If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer I highly recommend you to hire Mr. Fernandezread more
Anjeanette Blanco
Anjeanette Blanco
22:37 06 Dec 19
Daniel J. Fernandez has been my lawyer for 25 years and he is amazing! He is always available when needed and goes above beyond. His entire office staff is always friendly and helpful. I highly recommend Mr. Fernandez.read more
Nicole Tarantelli
Nicole Tarantelli
17:36 02 Dec 19
I am so pleased with the experience I had with everyone in their office. The service was excellent! Everyone was kind and patient. I mostly dealt with Austin. He did everything he said and always returned my calls the same day. I am incredibly grateful for all the hard work!read more
Cheryl Stinson
Cheryl Stinson
14:41 22 Nov 19
Daniel Fernandez represented us in a violation of probation in dade city'. He did a great job. Judge was going to sentence my friend to one year in jail .Mr. Fernandez argued for 60 days and hot the court down to 70 days .thank you for your help Mr.Fernandezread more
gilbert Lozada
gilbert Lozada
18:23 01 Nov 19
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stephanie santiago
stephanie santiago
18:13 21 Oct 19
Im so pleased with Daniel Fernandez. He was able to get my husbands case to go better than what we thought it was. Thank you so muchread more
Jose Rodriguez
Jose Rodriguez
13:39 25 Sep 19
I don't have enough words to describe how amazing the experience with attorney Fernandez was. I could not have asked for better services. Attorney Fernandez was very professional throughout the legal process which resulted in a positive outcome. Thank you again attorney Fernandez for giving my family and me peace of mind.read more
Genesis Padilla
Genesis Padilla
04:22 12 Sep 19
Mr. Fernandez was absolutely amazing with our family’s case. Very genuine and intelligent. Austin was a pleasure to work with as well. We had a great experience overall, we were blown away by what he was able to accomplish so quickly.read more
Alex Gomez
Alex Gomez
15:13 14 Aug 19
I'm very satisfied with the services provided from Mr. Daniel J Fernandez. I was in a bad situation and contacted his firm. They were very professional and informative. They're very knowledgeable in the law and great at what they do. I would recommend them to everyone I know without hesitation. Mr. Fernandez and his firm are the real deal. Once again thank you.read more
D Serano
D Serano
01:21 18 Jul 19
Daniel Fernandez is an amazing lawyer! I have used a few times for a family member and I highly recommend! He knows his stuff, hes aggressive, a fighter, not afraid to try any case that comes his way!! He is honest and let’s you know what to expect from the moment you hire and until the case in closed!read more
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