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.