Usually, the very first thing on a person’s mind when arrested is figuring out how to get themselves out of jail. Spending any amount of time in a locked cell is never an easy prospect. Most people will want to do whatever it takes to get out from behind those bars while they wait for their case, and potentially, their trial to proceed.
While contacting a defense attorney, like those at the Law Offices of Sabrina Puglisi, should always be your very first move after getting arrested, the next step will usually be to determine the amount of bail you will be required to pay and to post the necessary funds that will allow for your release.
What is bail?
A bail bond, also known in Florida as a “Pretrial Release,” is a fee paid to the court in exchange for your release from jail, but with the understanding that you are required by law to show up to future court hearings and respond to the charges against you. The money is held to ensure you do not flee following your release from jail.
How is bail set?
Under most circumstances in the state of Florida, one’s bond will automatically be determined based on a pre-determined schedule. When an accused stands before a Judge at first appearance, the amount owed will depend on various things such as the nature of the crime; whether or not you could be considered a flight risk, meaning a threat to flee after you are released; ties to the community; and your ability to pay the bond. Thanks to the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, all Americans are protected from excessive and unreasonable bail.
In some circumstances, you may also be released without having to pay anything for bail, known as being “released of your own recognisance” or ROR.
How is bail posted?
One can normally post bail, the amount of which is based on their county’s fee schedule, immediately following their arrest. There are some circumstances where bond cannot be posted immediately. For example, if a person is arrested for a domestic violence offense or a DUI, that person will be required to remain in custody until first appearance before a judge within 24 hours of arrest. If a person is charged with an offense punishable by life, that person is not entitled to pre-trial release if proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great. In these situations, the attorney may file a motion to set bond or to reduce bond if the proposed amount is too high.
Once the final bail amount is set, you have several options available to actually post bond and be released. The simplest option is to post a cash bond. If your bail is set at $1,000, then you must pay the court $1,000 cash. Remember, these funds will be returned to you whether you are convicted or not, as long as you fulfill your bond conditions and return for all necessary court hearings.
Your second option, the one most commonly used, is to utilize a licensed bail bondsman, whom you will normally pay 10% of the bail amount in exchange for him or her posting the full bail with the court on your behalf. The bail bondsman fee is nonrefundable. The bondsman will also require you to post collateral for the bail bond, meaning some sort of real property ranging from cash to your home or car, equal or greater in value to the amount they are posting for your bail. This is meant to ensure that if you were to flee, they would have the legal right to said property in order to offset their losses from posting your bail. If you appropriately fulfill your obligations, the collateral will be released back to you after the case is over.
Bail determinations are oftentimes a much more complex process than what you see on TV in crime shows. It is essential that you enlist the services of a skilled defense attorney to ensure your rights regarding bail are upheld. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Sabrina Puglisi will work to ensure you are released from jail as quickly as possible and for a reasonable amount of bail, if any at all. If you are facing criminal charges, please do not hesitate to contact us right away.