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PRACTICE AREA

BOND HEARINGS

 

The Law Office of Lee Meadows has assisted people needing guidance regarding bond hearings since 1981.

Understanding the bond process is essential.

In Florida, when someone is arrested, one of the first stages in the criminal process they may encounter is the bond hearing (often referred to as a "first appearance" or "initial appearance"). The primary purpose of this hearing is to ensure that the arrested individual's constitutional rights are being upheld and to address the matter of pretrial release.

What Is a Bond?

In Florida, the legal term Pretrial Release is synonymous with the words bail and bond. Technically, bail or bond is just the monetary amount that must be posted before a person can be released from jail pending trial. However, even if you post the monetary amount (bond) you may also have to agree to other conditions before the jail will actually release you. Collectively, these conditions (including the bond amount) are known as Pretrial Release.

                                                 Bond Hearing Process:

Timeframe for the Hearing: In Florida, the arrested person must be brought before a judge for a bond hearing within 24 hours of their arrest.

Initial Appearance: The hearing typically takes place in a courtroom, although in some cases it may occur through a video link. The judge will inform the arrested person of the charges against them and will make sure they understand their rights. This includes the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, the court can appoint a public defender.

Setting Bail: One of the main purposes of the bond hearing is to determine whether the defendant should be released from custody pending trial and, if so, under what conditions. When determining the amount of bail (if any), the judge will consider several factors:

  • The nature and seriousness of the offense.

  • The defendant's ties to the community (e.g., family, employment).

  • The defendant's prior criminal record.

  • The risk that the defendant may flee or not appear in court.

  • The potential danger the defendant may pose to the community or any specific person.

Types of Release: Depending on the circumstances, the judge might choose one of the following options:

  • Release on Personal Recognizance (ROR): The defendant is released without having to post any money but promises to appear in court for all future proceedings.

  • Surety Bond: A bail bondsman or bond agency guarantees the defendant's appearance in court. Typically, the defendant pays the bondsman a percentage of the total bond amount (often 10%), and in return, the bondsman posts the full bond with the court. If the defendant doesn't appear in court as required, the bondsman may seek to collect the full amount from the defendant or may employ a bounty hunter to locate and return the defendant to custody.

  • Cash Bond: The defendant deposits the full amount of the bond with the court. If the defendant appears for all court dates, the money is refunded (minus any administrative fees). If the defendant doesn't appear, the money may be forfeited.

  • Conditional Release: The defendant may be released with certain conditions, like electronic monitoring, drug testing, or attending counseling.

No Bond: In certain cases, especially for very serious offenses or when the defendant is considered a flight risk or a danger to the community, the judge may deny bond, which means the defendant will remain in custody until trial or until another bond hearing is held.

Further Proceedings: If a defendant is released, they must appear for all scheduled court dates, including arraignment, pretrial hearings, and the trial. Failing to appear can result in the forfeiture of any bond posted and the issuance of an arrest warrant.

It's important to note that bond hearing procedures can vary somewhat by county within Florida, and it's always advisable for anyone facing this process to consult with an attorney to understand their rights and the specifics of their situation.

TESTIMONIAL

” I am very grateful that Mr.Meadows was able to get my DUI dismissed. He was very professional. With my case result, he helped me keep my job. I recommend Mr.Meadows highly.”

 

I.M., Tallahassee, Florida

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