Below are some frequently asked questions regarding Florida bond hearings:
HOW LONG BEFORE A BOND IS SET IN MY CASE?
A bond hearing is set within a certain amount of time after a defendant’s arrest. In Florida, a defendant is entitled to a bond hearing within 24 hours after being arrested, thus bond hearings are held everyday.
WHAT IF THE JUDGE DENIES BOND?
Generally, a bond is set once the arrest is processed, but certain individuals may have to wait for a bond hearing. If the defendant allegedly committed a crime for which a bond has not automatically been set, he will appear before a criminal court to determine a) if there will be a bond and b) what the bond may be if a bond is issued. A court may deny bond if it thinks, among other things, that a defendant will harm himself or others or if the court thinks the defendant may be a flight risk. In addition, if the charge that the defendant has been arrested for is punishable by life in prison, then bond will automatically be denied. In situations such as this, and ARTHUR HEARING must be set, during which a judge determines whether there is “proof evident, presumption great” that the defendant committed the crimes for which they are charged.
WHAT IS A NEBBIA?
Occasionally, there may be a situation where the defendant could be given a bond, but during the bond hearing the court determines that it needs to see more information regarding the source of any funds used to post the bond. If the court suspects that bond money may have come from criminal actions, the court may either deny bond or attach what is called a NEBBIA to the bond, which requires the defendant to show proof that the bond money has not come from any illegal source.
WHAT IF I CANT AFFORD THE BOND?
Once a bond is set, the defendant can post the full amount of the cash bond with the jail depository or instead, utilize the services of a Bail Bond Company. If a cash bond is posted, the full amount will be returned to the defendant so long as all court dates are met by the defendant. If a Bail Bond Company is used, then the company guarantees the bond to the court and becomes responsible for the defendant’s appearances in court. For this, the Bail Bond Company usually charges a 10% fee from the defendant. It is more for federal cases, however not all federal courts allow the use of bail bond companies. However, if the defendant skips or fails to appear in Court, the bail bond company will seek to capture the defendant and have the defendant pay 100% for the loss of the bond which resulted from the defendant’s non-appearance in Court.
CAN MY BOND BE REDUCED?
A defendant that cannot afford to post even 10% of the bond issued can request a hearing to reduce the amount. At that hearing the judge will only consider “new information” that was not previously presented to the judge that originally issued the bond.
This information can include, but is not limited to:
- The nature of the crimes
- The amount of evidence
- Community ties, including:
- Local Family Members
- Length of Residence
- Employment History
- Financial Resources, and
- Mental Condition
- Past and Present Criminal History, including:
- Lack of any Criminal Convictions
- Lack of past Failures to Appear