What happens once an individual is arrested?
If an individual is arrested and does not have a right to bail for the offense charged, he/she must be delivered immediately into the custody of the sheriff of the county in which the indictment, information, or arrest affidavit is filed.
If an individual is arrested and has a right to bail, he/she must be released after providing bond on the amount specified in the warrant.
Unless otherwise ordered by the court, an individual who is arrested will remain in the department’s of correction’s custody pending disposition of the charge, or until the arrestee’s underlying sentence of imprisonment expires, whichever occurs earlier.
What is “bail?”
The term “bail” is used to describe any form of court approved and ordered pretrial release of a defendant. Under Florida Law, any monetary or cash component of any form of pretrial release may be met by a “bond.”
What is a “bond?”
The term “bond” is used to describe the monetary form and amount of payment required as security under a bail order. In essence, whatever accumulation of items or money is submitted as collateral, security, to satisfy the bail amount determined by the court will be considered the “bond.”
What is a “surety bond?”
A criminal surety bail bond is executed by a private bail bond agent, who is duly licensed pursuant to chapter 648 Florida Statutes, in connection with the pretrial or appellate release of a criminal defendant.
A surety bail bond will be construed as a legally binding commitment by, and an obligation upon the executing bail bond agent, to ensure that the “bailed out” defendant appears at all subsequent criminal proceedings and otherwise fulfills all conditions of the bond.
Any failure to appear pursuant to any court order, and/or any breach by the defendant of any other condition stated in the surety bail bond also constitutes a breach by the bail bond agent of his/her present commitment and obligation attached to the bond issued.
What is an “appearance bond” or “recognizance bond?”
Any criminal defendant who is required to meet monetary bail or bail with any monetary component may satisfy such bail by providing a surety bond as otherwise provided by law (described above) or by providing an appearance bond or recognizance bond directly to the court.
Procedure for posting bail via an appearance or recognizance bond
Any defendant posting an appearance bond must apply for his/her pretrial release in writing. Each defendant charged with a felony of the second degree or higher, and each defendant appearing before a court in connection with bail, must sign the application under oath, and in open court.
Once the application is completed and the quantity and specific conditions of the bond are determined as required by law, a defendant may deposit with the clerk of the court before which the action is pending or with the sheriff, if designated by the clerk, a sum of money equal to 10 percent of the bond and any additional collateral for all or part of the remaining portion of the bond as the court may require.
Once a defendant has paid the required sum to the court, and agreed in writing to all nonmonetary, court imposed conditions attached to the bond, a defendant will be released from custody subject to all conditions of release imposed by the court.
Satisfaction of pre-trial release conditions and defendant discharge
If the conditions of release have been performed and a defendant has been discharged from all obligations in the action, unless the court orders otherwise, must return to a defendant 75 percent of the 10-percent sum deposited, plus any additional required collateral, while retaining as bail costs 25 percent of the 10-percent sum originally deposited as bond.
If necessary or warranted, and at the request of a defendant, the court may order the amount repayable to a defendant from the original bond deposit to be paid directly to the defendant’s attorney of record.
Who determines the amount of bail required, and the conditions imposed? Who is empowered to alter or change the amount of bail or condition of bail imposed?
After a defendant is held to answer by a trial court judge, the court having jurisdiction to try the defendant will have jurisdiction to hear and decide all preliminary motions regarding bail, before an indictment, affidavit, or information is filed.
The Judge that presides over the pretrial hearing is the only judge capable of altering said conditions of bail or the amount of bond required. The only exceptions are if the alternate judge:
- Is the chief judge of the circuit in which the defendant is to be tried;
- Has been assigned to preside over the criminal trial of the defendant;
- Is the designee of the chief judge and a judge has not yet been assigned to the criminal trial.
Effect of Misleading or False Information submitted on application for bail
A defendant who intentionally provides false or misleading material information or intentionally omits material information in connection with his/her application for bail or for modification of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, which is one degree less than that of the crime charged for which bail is actively being sought.
What criteria are considered by the presiding court during the pretrial hearing when determining the amount of bail to be set?
The purpose of a bail determination in criminal proceedings is to ensure the appearance of the criminal defendant at subsequent proceedings and to protect the community against unreasonable danger from a criminal defendant.
In addition to this overarching public policy, when determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be, the court will consider these criterion:
- The nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
- The weight of the evidence against the defendant;
- The defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, 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 or procure an appearance bond, particularly whether the proffered funds, real property, property, or any proposed collateral or bond premium may be linked to or derived from the crime alleged to have been committed or from any other criminal or illicit activities;
- The burden of establishing the noninvolvement in or nonderivation from criminal or other illicit activity of such proffered funds falls upon the defendant or other person proffering them to obtain the defendant’s release.
- Whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of a sentence;
- The street value of any drug or controlled substance connected to or involved in the criminal charge;
- The nature and probability of intimidation and danger to victim(s);
- Whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release;
- Any other facts that the court considers relevant.