If you are arrested for a crime in the state of Florida, you or your family may have to deal with a company in the business of issuing bail bonds. The purpose of bail bonds are to allow a person charged with a crime to remain free and out of jail while his or her case is pending prior to the scheduled trial or hearing date.
How Bail Is Set and Who Sets It
In Florida criminal cases, the bail amount is typically set by the arresting police officer who consults a standard bail schedule. If you do not post bail immediately, the matter will go before a judge who will review the bail amount and may adjust it. The amount of the bail is usually determined by the nature of the offense (i.e. felony or misdemeanor), defendant’s likelihood of flight risk, and defendant’s prior criminal history (including open warrants), among other factors.
How Bail Bonds Work in Florida
In the state of Florida, a bail bond is essentially a promise to the court that a criminal defendant will appear for a hearing or trial on the appointed date and time. Once a bond is posted in the required amount, the defendant will be released.
When a bail bond is set, the defendant has two options:
- Pay the full amount of the bail directly to the court – Assuming the defendant appears in court on the appointed date and time, he or she will be refunded the full amount of the bail money posted.
- Pay 10 percent of the full bail amount to a bail bondsman in addition to signing a contract that provides collateral security for the bond (e.g., a house, car, or some other asset that is worth the same amount as the bail bond) – The defendant need not actually hand over the asset itself. However, even if the defendant appears for the hearing or trial, he or she will not receive the 10 percent deposit back from the bail bondsman.
If the defendant fails to appear for the court proceeding, the following will probably happen:
- An arrest warrant will be issued.
- The full amount of the bail will become due to the court.
Contact a St. Petersburg, Florida, Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have been charged with a crime in the state of Florida, our experienced team of attorneys may be able to assist you with your case. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense attorney, please call us at 727-269-5300 or contact us online.