Bail Bonds Attorney Orlando & Lake County
Being arrested, or knowing you are going to be arrested and not knowing how to negotiate the fairest possible terms for your release, can be one of the most stressful and frightening events in your life. Knowing about your right to bail and bond is your first step in your fight for your freedom. If you are arrested in Florida, you have the right to a reasonable bail bond before conviction, under the state and federal constitutions. Our experienced Orlando bail bonds attorneys will help guide you through this process so you don’t feel left in the dark.
What is Bail Bond?
Bail refers to the cash or cash-equivalent that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure (1) that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so and/or (2) will not flee the jurisdiction if he or she is released on bail. The amount of bail is referred to as a bond. The bail bond must be a reasonable amount and is usually required for pre-trial release. If the defendant appears in court at all scheduled appearances, the court refunds the bail. However, if the defendant does not show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
Why Bail Bond is Required
The purpose of a bail bond is to allow an arrested person to retain his or her freedom until he or she is convicted of the crime, to ensure that he or she shows up at subsequent criminal proceedings, and to protect the community against any possible unreasonable danger posed by the accused.
When Bail Bond is Determined
Usually, within forty-eight hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of a person’s arrest, that person will be arraigned before a judge, who will determine what the bail bond will be.
When Bail Bond is Denied
Before bail bond is denied, the state must demonstrate to the court that there is an abundance of evidence against the person and that there is a likely possibility that the person will be convicted of the alleged crime. A bail bond can also be denied when the person arrested has previously been convicted of a felony and the person’s civil rights have not been restored at the time bail bond is requested. If other felony charges are pending against the person and probable cause has been found that the person has committed the other felonies at the time the request for bail is made, bail bond may also be denied. In these cases, the defendant has the right to appeal the court’s order denying bond, provided that the motion is made on non-frivolous grounds and in good faith.
Reducing Bail Bond
If you cannot afford the set bond, your criminal defense lawyer might be able to appear before the court to negotiate a bail bond reduction. A bond reduction motion must be filed first, stating grounds for the reduction such as lack of prior criminal record, standing in the community, family ties to the community, and employment. A hearing must then be scheduled on the court’s docket to give appropriate notice to the state and/or county attorneys.
Cash Bond vs. Non-Cash Bond
Certain factors are considered in determining whether a cash or non-cash bond is required. More serious offenses typically require cash bonds. Non-cash bonds usually involve collateral such as cars, homes, or other valuables, in addition to the 10% fee that you have to pay the bondsman for advancing money or collateral for your bond.
A bail bond can be posted in either one of two ways:
- You can post the entire amount, which means you post a full cash bond. This amount must be paid in cash or a cashier’s check. Credit cards and personal checks are not accepted.
- You can use the services of a bail bonds agency and buy the bail bond for 10% of the bond amount. The majority of individuals charged with a crime use a bail bond agency.
The bail bondsman typically receives a premium or fee of 10% of the bond amount. For example, if the bail bond is $10,000 dollars, then the bail bondsman’s fee would be $1,000. You still have to pay this amount in cash or cashier’s check, not with a personal check or credit cards.
In addition, you must collateralize the bond. This means you have to give the bondsman something that covers the entire value of the bond. For example, if the bond is $10,000, you must be prepared to give the bondsman something that is valued at that amount, or give the bondsman some financial interest on collateral, if the collateral’s value is more than that of the bond. If you cannot afford any bond at all, and no friend or relative can come up with the bail bond for you, this may be the only way for you to post your bail bond. Speak to your bondsman on the details regarding contracting with his or her agency.
When Your Bond is Forfeited or Returned To You
If the person for whom the bond is posted flees the jurisdiction or does not attend scheduled court appearances, the judge can revoke the bond, and what has been put up as collateral for the bond will be forfeited. However, when the criminal matter is resolved, or when all scheduled appearances have been attended, the bond will be released, minus the fee the bail bondsman charges. If you paid an all-cash bond, the entire amount will be returned to you when the case is over, minus any administrative fees.
What Happens When You Do Not Post Bail
If you do not post bail or cannot post bail, or if the judge decides not to reduce your bail bond because of the seriousness of your offense, you will have to remain in jail.
Released on Own Recognizance (R.O.R.)
Sometimes the judge allows a person accused of a crime to be free while awaiting trial, without posting bail. The judge accepts the defendant’s promise to appear at scheduled hearings, based on the strength of the defendant’s reputation, the seriousness of the crime charged, the defendant’s mental condition, the likelihood that the defendant will appear when ordered by the court to appear, the length of time the person has lived in the area, the person’s reputation in the community and ties to the community, and the person’s employment situation and financial security. If the judge decides the charge is a very serious offense, Release on Own Recognizance may not be an option.
Responsibilities/Conditions of Pre-Trial Release and Violation
When the defendant is released on bail bond, the court usually requires the defendant to refrain from criminal activity of any kind, and to avoid any contact with the victim(s) of the alleged crime, unless the court modifies the requirements in the interest of justice. If the court has any reason to believe that pre-trial release conditions have been violated or that the defendant has committed a new crime, the court may revoke the pre-trial release and order pre-trial detention.
If you have further questions regarding bail bonds, contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Conan and Herman for assistance at (407) 872-3999. Free Consultations.