By: James Davis
Posting Bail in Florida
Under certain circumstances, the Court may grant your release while you await trial. Generally, you may secure your release by “posting bail.” Bail is a sum of money that the Court will collect and hold as collateral so that you have an incentive to appear for trial. If you fail to appear for trial, the Court retains your money and a warrant is issued for your arrest. If you do appear for trial, your bail money is returned (minus administrative fees).
Within 24 hours of your arrest, you have the right to a “first appearance hearing” before a judge. At this hearing, the judge will determine, among other things, whether you will be given the opportunity to post bail. Your opportunity to post bail, as well as the amount, will be determined by factors such as the nature and severity of the crime of which you have been accused, your prior criminal record, and whether the court thinks you may flee.
What If I Can’t Afford My Bail Amount?
Often, a judge will set a bail amount which you cannot afford. If so, there is a solution: a bail bonds establishment. Bail bondsmen are in business to lend funds to criminal defendants so that you can post bail. Jacksonville area bail bondsmen collect a fee as a percentage of the total bail amount (usually around 10%), which is often easier for criminal defendants to afford at the time of their incarceration. Unlike posting your own bail, the fee you pay to a bail bondsman is not returned. In exchange for their fee, the bail bondsmen will furnish their own money to post a “bond” with the Court. The bond secures your release and ensures that the bail bondsman will have a powerful incentive to make sure you, the defendant, appear for trial. If you fail to appear for trial, the bail bonds establishment stands to lose all of the money it lent to you. You must understand that if you use a bail bondsman, they are entitled to collect their debt if you fail to appear for trial.
Can I Post Something Other Than Cash?
In certain circumstances, you may elect to post what is called a property bond instead of a cash bond. A property bond allows the Court to hold a portion of your property as collateral to ensure your appearance at trial. Florida law requires, among other things, that you file an affidavit certifying things like the nature or location of the property, the defendant’s ownership of the property, and any liens or mortgages associated with the property.
Get Legal Help
Getting arrested is always an incredibly stressful and often traumatizing process. No matter what, it is important to remember that you do not have to go it alone. As soon as possible after an arrest, it is vital to contact a criminal defense attorney to have an advocate in your corner throughout the process. If you are in our area, the attorney at the Law Office of James Davis is ready to ensure that your legal rights are respected at all times. After an arrest be sure to act quickly and call our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible at (904) 358-0420.