Understanding Pre-trial Release

If you have been arrested and are being held in custody , you may be granted the opportunity by the court to be released pre-trial. There are different types of conditions for which a court may release an individual pre-trial and also differences between release in state court and federal court.  Bail is essentially a type of promise by the defendant, represented by a set amount of money, that serves to guarantee the court that, if released, the defendant will return for any later court proceedings.
The amount of bail is determined by several factors, including  the seriousness of the crime, dangerousness to the community,   and whether or not you are considered a flight risk. Once the amount of bail is set, the defendant will be released from custody  as soon as the bail is posted. If the defendant fails to show up for a subsequent  court proceeding, the amount of bail will be forfeited to the court.  The court may release a defendant with or without financial conditions.  Sometimes the court will require the posting of an actual  financial amount and sometimes there are no financial requirements.
If the court requires the posting of a bond, the defendant has two options in state court: to pay the bail amount to the court  in cash or through the use of a  bondsman. A  bondsman is another way to guarantee to the court that the defendant will return for his or her  court proceeding. A bail bond is issued by a bail bond agency and backed by an insurance company. The bond agency sometimes  requires a third person to sign the bond, stating that they agree to be held responsible for the full amount of the bail should the defendant fail to appear in court.  Other times, the defendant has sufficient assets to secure the bond and may be asked to secure the bondsman by permitting a mortgage to be placed on his property or sometimes simply having sufficient assets is acceptable to the bondsman.
If you choose in state court to use a  bondsman in lieu of paying cash, you will be charged a certain percentage of the total amount of bail as a fee that is payable to the bond agency. In Florida state criminal court  the bail bond statutes set the fee at $100 if the bond is less than $1,000, or 10% of the total bail if that amount exceeds $1,000. The fee is non-refundable.  In federal court in the southern district of Florida, the bondsman charges a premium of 15%.
If the defendant appears at all  court proceedings,  the cash will be returned if cash was posted. If, however, the defendant fails to appear in court without a valid legal reason , the court may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and  to the extent a  third person guarantor signed the bond, he or she may be  held responsible for the full amount of the bond posted. Finally, although bounty hunters are illegal in the state of Florida, a  bail bondsman has the authority to pursue and arrest a missing defendant.
The laws on what conditions of release are appropriate for a particular individual and in a particular court is a complicated issue and should be handled by an experienced attorney.
If you are being held in jail after an arrest and are eligible for bail, the qualified legal team at Weisberg Kainen Mark can help guide you through the bail process. Contact our office for a consultation today.

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Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL

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