Jacksonville Bail Bond Attorneys
Serving Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, and clients throughout Florida
The 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 14 of the Florida Constitution ensure a defendant’s right to bail or pretrial release – with exceptions.
In Florida, 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, every person charged with a crime or violation of a municipal or county ordinance is entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions.
In Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties within twenty-four hours of a person’s arrest, they attend “first appearance” where they see a judge who determines whether there is probable cause to detain them and the amount of their bail. If there is no finding of probable cause, the judge must order that the defendant be released on his/her own recognizance. If the judge finds probable cause, the judge must then set a reasonable bail bond unless the defendant does not qualify for a bail bond. Once the judge determines the bail bond, the defendant must pay the bail bond in order to be released from jail.
Bail bond is money that must be deposited with the Court to ensure that an arrested person will appear in court if released from jail. The money that the person has deposited with the Court acts as “insurance” that they will not flee the jurisdiction if released from jail.
Bail allows an arrested person to retain his or her freedom until trial, ensures that he or she shows up at all court proceedings, and protects the community against the probability of unreasonable danger posed by the defendant. Ideally, the amount of bail should be no more than what is reasonably necessary to prevent someone from fleeing before their case is handled.
At times, the Court orders the person released to participate in pre-trial services. This program requires certain conditions such as an electronic ankle bracelet or urine screenings to assure the Court that the released person is not using drugs while released.
If a person attends court as scheduled, at the end of their case their bail is refunded to them. If a person flees their bail is forfeited. At times a person cannot afford to post the entire bail bond and we can help them find a Bondsman who will post the bail bond for a fee. For some offenses, after you’ve been arrested the jail can set a “standard” bail amount, which allows you to bond out without attending the first appearance.
The amount of your bail is primarily determined by the nature of the crime charged and your criminal history. However, if you cannot afford the bond set, your criminal defense lawyer may request bond reduction and present to the judge certain factors (your lack of prior criminal record, your standing in the community, your family ties, and your employment) as reasons to support reducing your bond.
If you do not post bail or cannot post bail you will have to remain in jail.
The Court bases the amount of bail upon the criteria set forth in Rule 3.131, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure which are as follows:
In determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be, the Court may consider the nature and circumstances of the offense charged and the penalty provided by law; the weight of the evidence against the defendant; the defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, need for substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment, and mental condition; the defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings; the nature and probability of danger that the defendant’s release poses to the community; the source of funds used to post bail; whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or is on probation, parole, or another release pending completion of sentence; and any other facts the Court considers relevant.
When the Judge sets bond at a certain amount, generally there are two ways the bail can be handled. For example, if the Court sets bail at $25,000, the defendant can either deliver $25,000 cash to the jail or go to a bail bondsman. If the defendant posts the full amount of the bail in cash with the jail, then the full amount of the cash will be returned to him upon the completion of the court proceedings against him.
If the defendant uses a bail bondsman the bondsman usually requires that the defendant pay him 10 percent of the bail and the bondsman puts up the other 90 percent. The bondsman usually needs some collateral to ensure his 90 percent in case the defendant fails to appear for court.
So in our example, you would pay the bondsman $2,500 and provide collateral. Then the bondsman will bond you out. When the case is over the bondsman gets to keep your $2,500.
Our criminal defense law firm can help you find a bondsman to help you with bail.
Personal Recognizance Bond
The Judge in certain circumstances may Release on Recognizance. This means that the Court releases the accused on their signature guarantee that they will return for court proceedings. A judge normally does this when the crime charged is not very serious and the defendant has sufficient ties to the community that the Court feels the defendant will return to court as promised. The judge grants a Recognizance Release by considering:
- The seriousness of the crime
- The status of the defendant’s mental condition
- The likelihood of the defendant appearing as ordered by the Court
- How long the person has lived in the area
- The defendant’s reputation and ties in the community
- The defendant’s employment situation and financial burdens
Pretrial Release Conditions
The Judge may impose certain conditions of release in addition to bail. For example, the Judge may require the defendant have no contact with the victim of a crime upon release or the Court may make the defendant take drug tests regularly while on bail. Two standing conditions of release are that the defendant not violate any laws while on release and appear for court when he is supposed to be there.
Violations of Conditions of Release
Usually, if a defendant violates a condition of release, the Court revokes the defendant’s bond and remands him to jail. If the defendant fails to appear for court as ordered, then the Court revokes the bond and issues a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
If a bondsman posted the bail, the bondsman will try to catch the defendant and turn him in so that the bondsman does not forfeit the money he put up towards the bond.
As previously explained, under the Florida and U.S. Constitutions, you have the right to a reasonable bail bond before trial, after you have been arrested. We can help you have a reasonable bail bond set or can file a Motion to Reduce Bail if a bond has already been set. A felony or misdemeanor arrest means you will be taken to jail.
Contact our Jacksonville, Florida criminal defense offices for more information on bonds.
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The most common personal injury is an auto accident, but the broad definition encompasses any situation where a person suffers harm due to the negligence of another person or entity. Early identification of a personal injury is important to the legal process. Many serious injuries occur each year involving:
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– Premises liability accidents such as injuries caused by a slip and fall
– Medical malpractice/nursing home injuries
– Wrongful death
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