When a loved one is arrested in Florida, especially for the first time, you may find yourself in the complex world of bail and bail bonds. Usually, after an arrest, you will be given a bail amount which sets a "cost" that determines how much it will take to "bail you out of jail." For most crimes in Florida, bail is pre-set and is solely based on the crime. If you or a loved one has been arrested in Florida and cannot bond out of jail, our West Palm Beach bail hearing attorney can provide guidance, legal support, and expert negotiation throughout the entire bail bond process.
How Bail Bonds Work in Florida
You or your loved one has the right to bail unless you were charged with a capital crime that carries a life sentence or death, or you are facing a violation of probation. Probationers in violation will normally be held on a "no bond" status which means they cannot bond out. The judge, however, has the ability to still grant bail after a probation violation, but will likely impose greater restrictions along with it.
For example: If you are arrested for the crime of domestic battery in Florida, the bail may be set at a standard rate of $1,000 for those who have been arrested for that crime. It's important to note that individuals who are arrested for domestic violence-related crimes may not immediately be able to post bail. Domestic violence defendants will usually be held in jail until their first court appearance unless conditions for pretrial release are granted by the judge.
In order to post bond for a crime like domestic battery, the judge may require you to agree to additional conditions on top of paying the bond set at $1,000 including:
- No contact with the alleged victim
- Not returning to your home
- No alcohol
- Wearing a tracking device
When a Florida court agrees to release you while your criminal trial is pending, you are subject to these pretrial conditions even if you believe you are innocent. These conditions are not suggestions, but laws you must follow. Violating these set conditions can land you back in jail with heavier punishments later on.
5 Things You Need to Know About Florida Bail Bonds
Bail bond fees are set by the state
When bond is set for someone who was arrested in Florida, the amount is not made up. The bond is set based on pre-determined criteria depending on the crime. The criteria can include previous convictions, the likelihood of appearance, and the severity of the crime. It's important to be on the lookout for scammers posing as local bail bondsmen. These scammers prey on individuals either in jail or their families by impersonating bail bond agencies requesting payment over the phone.
Bail bonds are not a right
Defendants do not have a legal right to bail bond from a specific agency. In fact, agencies will often deny bonds in certain cases especially if the defendant is a flight risk or has a history of forfeiting bonds in the past. Oftentimes, a defendant may be required to use a co-signer in order to obtain a bond. Did you know that a bond can have multiple co-signers?
Paying for bail in cash is usually not a good idea
If you pay the cash price for bail, you must trust that the defendant will follow through with their obligations. If the defendant even misses one appointment, you could forfeit the entire bail amount. Using a bail bond usually prevents this from happening by paying a one-time fee of about 10 percent the total bail amount.
Collateral can be used in lieu of money
Unfortunately for some, raising the cash to secure bail can be difficult. Individuals in this position may still be able to obtain bond by putting up some form of collateral. This collateral can include titles to property, land, a bank account, jewelry, cars, or anything else of significant value.
An attorney can ask the court to reduce bail or release you on your own recognizance
If bail is set too high, a West Palm Beach bail hearing attorney can ask the court to either reduce it, or release you on your own recognizance. A release on your own recognizance is a written agreement signed by the defendant promising they will show up for future court appearances and not engage in illegal activity.
While bail bondsmen service is crucial to the criminal justice system in Florida, never hire one without consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney first. The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky has over 18 years providing expert representation tailored to your unique needs. If you or a loved one has been arrested and cannot bond out of jail, contact our office or call us at (561) 671-5995 to speak with a Palm Beach criminal defense attorney immediately.
I've also written a free guide 'My Loved One Has Been Arrested: What's Next?' which provides a quick overview of the criminal justice system covering topics like "will your loved one bail out of jail?" or "how to hire the right lawyer."
The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky handles crininal defense cases in all of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Loxahatchee, Royal Plam Beach, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres and all of Broward County.