By getting a bond after an arrest in Florida, you can avoid spending time in jail if you don’t have the cash. Naturally, most people don’t have expert knowledge on bonds and bails. As Florida criminal defense attorneys, we’ve tried to make it easy to understand:
Getting Bail or Bond Explained
If you or a loved one have been arrested in Florida, you’ll want to get them out of jail. To do this, you can pay a bail amount.
Bail is effectively a way of ensuring the defendant returns to court at a later date. The fee is usually returned after the court hearing unless the person fails to attend.
If the defendant can’t afford to post bail, their family or friends can pay the full amount.
This fee is pre-set based on the crime for most crimes in Florida. However, it can also be determined by factors such as criminal record and crime severity.
If the defendant can’t find the money to post bail, they can post a ‘bond’ in the full amount.
Bonds are very similar to bails, but don’t involve paying cash upfront – instead, it’s about finding another way to secure the release.
How to Get a Bond After an Arrest in Florida
Bonds are obtained from bail bond agencies – usually for a fee of about 10% of the bail amount. The bail company may also demand other collateral to protect themselves if the defendant skips town. Bond companies are private companies and separate from the court and jail.
Please be careful with scam bond agencies. Fake bondsmen take advantage of desperate and under-pressure families. Contact a criminal defense attorney for an expert’s opinion to get out of jail.
Reducing Bail Amounts
If your bail or bond amount is too high, you can potentially negotiate with the court to reduce it. This isn’t easy and should be assisted by a criminal defense lawyer.
Alternative Option to Avoid Jail: Own Recognizance Release
Alternatively, you may be able to get an ‘own recognizance’ (OR) release.
Own Recognizance releases allow defendants to be released from jail without the need to pay bail money. You will sign a written agreement that promises you’ll appear in court for your charges but won’t need to stay in police custody until then.
Own Recognizance releases will come with conditions attached. Such as being prohibited from traveling and being required to contact the court regularly.
If you fail to appear at your court appearance after an Own Recognizance release, a warrant will be issued for your arrest – another crime, separate from the original one.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Bond After an Arrest?
It is highly advised that you contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer immediately. Our experienced attorneys can quickly analyze your case and take the best course of action to protect your future.
We can negotiate with the courts to reduce your bail amount or to get an Own Recognizance release – ultimately getting you out of jail fast.
In some cases, we can also work to get your charges dropped immediately if there is clear evidence to support you – such as medication being mistaken for drugs in a DUI arrest.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ About Bails and Bonds in Florida
Should I Pay Bail With Cash?
- It may not always be wise to pay for bail by cash. If you miss one appointment, you could lose the entire bail amount – which is a challenging position if someone else paid for you.
- Paying a bail bond can help you avoid that risk but at the cost of 10% of the bail amount.
- An Own Recognizance Release avoids the need for payment entirely but may not be wise for people at risk of missing the court appearance.
- In some cases, you may be able to get a bond by using collateral such as title to a property, bank account or jewelry.
- Contact a criminal defense attorney to determine which route is best for you.
Does Everyone Have a Right to Bail?
- Everyone has a right to bail unless they’re accused of a capital crime with a life or death sentence or violated probation.
- Probation violations can usually not get out on bail or bond.
- Probation violations may be granted bail by a judge, under strict restrictions.
Are Bonds a Right?
- No, bonds are not obliged by any specific agency.
- You can be denied if you are a flight risk or have a history of missing court appearances.
How Much Are Bail Bond Fees?
- Bail bond fees are often pre-set based on the criteria of the crime.
- Bail bond fees are determined by:
- Criminal records
- History of the previous crime of the same nature
- The seriousness of the crime
- Whether anyone was injured or killed
- Defendant’s relationship with their family and community
- Defendant’s employment status
What Conditions Could I Be Placed Under?
- If released on bail, you may be given restrictions and laws that you must follow. These will depend on your crime.
- For example, a domestic abuse offender may be required to:
- Make no contact with the alleged victim
- Avoid alcohol
- Wear a tracking device at all times.
How Do I Find Out Someone’s Bail Bond Fee?
You can call the jail or see if the jail has an inmate page on its website.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay Bail or Bond?
- If you can’t afford to pay bail or bond, you can use a criminal defense lawyer to negotiate for a reduced fee. Or, you can try to get an Own Recognizance Release.
- If these routes are dead ends, you will have to see out the jail time.
- Please contact our criminal defense lawyers for a swift resolution.
How Do I Get Bond Money Back?
- You should get the full bail amount back from the court after the court case has finished – providing that you attended all court hearings and met all requirements after your release.
- You may be required to pay court fees.
Who Can Post Bail or Bond in Florida?
- Anyone can pay a cash bond at the jail.
- Bail bonds must be posted by a licensed bail agent.
Bond and Bail Statistics
- More than 90% of defendants are released without bond.
- 91% complete pretrial without any new arrest or missed court appearances.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL
If you or a loved one has been arrested, please contact our Florida criminal defense lawyers today. With considerable experience, reputation and resources, we can fight fast and aggressively to protect your future and help you avoid jail time.
Our criminal defense attorneys in Pinellas County at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with over 60 years of experience. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300