Addressing Your Bail Bond Questions
Not many people are knowledgeable about bail bonds and the laws surrounding them, but if you have found yourself involved with one, you’ll want to be sure you get the information you need as soon as possible. My name is Jenna Finkelstein. At the Clearwater office of Finkelstein Firm, P.A., I can answer your questions,. Below are a few I hear most often.
Am I entitled to a bond?
Generally, every person is entitled to a reasonable bond. The bond amount depends on the severity of the charge, the person’s prior criminal history and their ties to the community. More serious charges result in higher bonds.
There are situations in which a judge will deny setting a bond. For example, if you are on felony probation and pick up a new charge, judges are unlikely to give you a bond. If you have no bond, you must remain in custody until you resolve your case. If you have a history of failing to appear for court, you may be given a significantly higher bond or denied bond altogether.
What is the difference between an arrest and a notice to appear?
An arrest is just that – an arrest of your person where you are taken to jail and must see a judge to be granted a release on your own recognizance or a reasonable bond. A notice to appear can serve as a charging document. It is issued by law enforcement and requires a court appearance. Notices to appear are typically given to individuals who have been accused of committing less serious misdemeanor offenses, but, in rare circumstances, they also may be given for felony violations of probation.
Typically, if you are in violation of felony probation, you are going to go to jail. However, if the violation is only technical and you have not been arrested for new charges, then you may be fortunate enough to only be issued a notice to appear.
Can I be released on my own recognizance?
If you have minimal criminal history and are arrested for a minor crime, then the judge may allow you to be released on your own recognizance (ROR). ROR may be supervised or unsupervised. If you are on supervised ROR, then you will have to check in weekly to avoid committing a violation of pretrial release. Other factors that determine whether you may qualify for ROR are your ties to the community and your history of appearing for court.
When can I get a bond reduction?
Everyone is entitled to a bond hearing upon arrest. The time frames for setting a bond hearing can vary. The hearing may be brief, or your lawyer may have extensive arguments that will assist in convincing a judge to lower your bond. It is important to have an experienced bond attorney present the case for a reduction because you may only get one shot at lowering your bond.
Can I have more than one bond reduction hearing?
Yes. However, in order to justify subsequent hearings, there must be a significant change in circumstances in your case or your situation.
How do I get a bond reduction?
Your attorney may request a bond reduction hearing at any time if the facts and circumstances justify such.
Can I get my money back if the defendant shows up for court?
You will not get money back from a bondsman that you have paid. However, if a cash bond is posted and the defendant shows for court, then you will get your money back. It is important to note that some jurisdictions apply cash bonds to fines and costs related to the case. If the cash bond exceeds the amount you owe, then you will be refunded your balance. If charges are dropped or dismissed, then a full refund should be granted.
What happens if the defendant does not show for court?
If the defendant does not show for court, a warrant will be issued for arrest. A court may order a bail forfeiture if the defendant does not show. If the defendant shows for court at a later date and provides a good reason for not showing for the scheduled court appearance, then a judge may set aside the forfeiture.
When can a bail be increased?
If additional facts are presented to a court that justify an increase in the bond, then it may be increased. However, if the prosecutor is seeking an increase in the bond, then notice must be provided to the defendant or their attorney and a hearing must be held.
An experienced Florida bond lawyer may successfully argue that proper procedure was not followed or that the facts and circumstances do not justify an increase in the bond amount. Additionally, if the defendant fails to show for court, then the judge may increase the bond or set no bond.
Get The Guidance You Need For Your Bond Issues
Instead of hoping that you are making the right decisions without the information you need, let me guide you toward the outcome you deserve. Call my office at 727-202-4418 or email me here to schedule your free initial consultation today.