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Seeking Release from Jail in Fort Lauderdale
For most people who have been arrested, their immediate concern is when they will be released. Under Florida law, bond is supposed to be set within a certain time and for a certain amount. However, some alleged offenders could face hurdles. For example, a judge may set a higher bond amount in any case in which they believe the defendant is a “flight risk,” meaning an increased likelihood of that person fleeing the state or country. If a person has been accused of capital felonies or other offenses punishable by life sentences, they may be ineligible for bond.
Are you or your loved one seeking bail release from jail? Speak with our Miami lawyer at The Hoffman Firm today. We can discuss the nuances of the process and help you understand what conditions you must adhere to upon release.
Establishing Bail in Florida
When a person is arrested for an alleged criminal offense, they are taken to a local jail for the booking process, which includes taking photographs (mug shots) and fingerprints. Certain individuals (usually those charged with non-violent offenses) can be released on their own recognizance (ROR) or after paying a small cash bond. Others may be held in jail until their arraignments (or initial hearings).
Arraignments must be held within 48 hours of a person’s arrest, but typically occur within 24 hours. The process involves a judge informing the alleged offender of the formal charges against them. They will also set bond.
If a judge sets a bond that’s too high for the alleged offender, they can request a bond reduction hearing. A person can have legal representation at their arraignment or bond reduction hearing.
Types of Bond
Generally, people have 3 ways to bond out of jail in Florida:
- Cash bond: A person pays the full amount of a cash bond to be released from jail. Miami-Dade County does not accept personal checks. Within 10 days after the conclusion of the case, the original bond receipt must be mailed or submitted to the Clerk’s Office Central Bond Unit to obtain a refund. If an alleged offender fails to appear in court, they forfeit the entire bond amount.
- ROR Bond: Also known as a signature bond, a release on recognizance (ROR) bond allows for people to be let out of jail by signing an agreement. Their signature is a guarantee that they will attend all future court appearances. People who receive ROR bonds do not pay anything to earn release. However, if they fail to appear in court, the bond agreement can have a cash value that the defendant becomes responsible for paying.
- Surety bond: A bond posted through a licensed surety bond agent – more commonly known as a bondsman – is typically referred to as a surety bond. The bonding company or bondsman charges a non-refundable fee for posting the bond (usually 10% of the total amount). However, if the alleged offender does not appear in court, the bonding company is liable for the entire bond amount.
Factors Considered When Determining Bond
In Florida, judges will consider several factors when making bond decisions. In general, some of the issues that commonly play significant roles in determining the amount include the nature of the alleged criminal offense. The judge may look at the circumstances leading up to or surrounding the arrest and the evidence against the alleged offender.
Judges might also consider the defendant’s:
- Ties to the community, including their residence, current employment and employment history, and family members in the area;
- Mental condition;
- Criminal history, including whether they have previously failed to appear in court, are on probation, parole, or another release pending the resolution of a separate criminal charge; and
- Likelihood to commit another offense or the danger they would pose to the community and any alleged victim
If a judge believes that the funds used to pay a bond were acquired through illegal activities (such as drug dealing, fraud, theft, or forgery) that reduce the defendant’s financial incentive to return to court, they can add a Nebbia Hold as a condition of the bond.
A Nebbia Hold requires an alleged offender or any bond co-signers to disclose copies of accounting documents, income statements, bank records, or other materials that prove that the money being used came from legitimate sources.
A Nebbia Hold can be lifted in one of two ways:
- Filing a joint stipulation order. This requires that the prosecutor agrees to have the hold lifted without a hearing.
- Attending a bail source hearing. This allows the defendant to prove that the source(s) of the bond are legitimate.
Although it might seem like getting out of jail is simply a matter of paying the amount ordered by a judge, various nuances can exist that complicate the process. Additionally, there may be the possibility of having the bail reduced. Because of the complexities of the legal system, it’s best to discuss your situation with our knowledgeable Miami bail bond attorney today. Backed by extensive legal experience, we can guide you through the process.
Florida Bail Bond Resources
Visit the Clerk of Courts website to make criminal justice payments, parking citation payments, and traffic citation payments. Acceptable methods of payment include cash (only in person), cashier check or money order (payable to Clerk of Courts), and Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Personal checks are notaccepted.
Miami-Dade County Clerk's Office:
Criminal Court Office
1351 NW 12th St.
Miami, FL 33125
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida:
Find additional information about Circuit and County Judges on this website serving Miami-Dade County. The Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida is the largest in the state and the fourth largest trial court in the nation. Learn more about court structure and court locations.
Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida:
175 NW 1st Ave.
Miami, FL 33128
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