Bail Reduction And Release In Florida – What To Do After An Arrest
Prompt jail release is essential in criminal cases, and not just for the obvious personal and professional reasons. There are also legal and medical reasons this phase of a criminal case is so important. If you, a family member, or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a crime, the first phase of the case will involve an arraignment and the setting of bail.
Under the Florida Statutes, the purpose of a bail determination in criminal proceedings is to “ensure the appearance of the criminal defendant at subsequent proceedings and to protect the community against unreasonable danger from the criminal defendant.” In other words, bail is set to make sure the defendant comes back to court, and that they aren’t a danger to the community. The outcome of this hearing may depend on the nature of the alleged crime, as well as the defendant’s prior record.
In many cases, OR (Own Recognizance) release is available if the defendant has no criminal record and committed a nonviolent offense. A review board examines the case and determines if OR release is appropriate. This may involve little or no cost to the defendant, but they still may be required to sit in jail while this outcome is pending.
In other cases, a cash bail amount may be set. This is usually based on the charge involved and the defendant’s criminal history. Unfortunately, this amount can often be set too high for the accused or their family to pay the amount requested.
Even if a bail bond is available, the bail bonding company typically charges a bond premium fee which is 10% of the bail bond’s total amount. At times, even that 10% may be an obstacle to release from jail when the bail is set at $50,000.00, for example.
In more serious cases, a defendant may be held without bond, subject to a bail reduction hearing. At a bail reduction hearing, which usually happens about three days after the arrest, judges take additional factors into account, such as the defendant’s:
- Ties to the community
- Ability to pay
- Threat to the community
- Ability to flee
Consequences of Being Held in Jail When the Bail Amount is Too High
There can be serious negative consequences when an accused defendant is held in jail. First of all, individuals who are behind bars cannot participate in their own defenses in any meaningful way. Their liberty is restricted and contacts with family members and attorneys can be limited. Incarcerated defendants are largely unable to perform their own research or contact potential witnesses to testify on their behalf. The longer one sits in jail, the more likely they may be to settle for a plea agreement that is unfavorable to them in the long run.
Furthermore, most jurors presume that people who are in jail did something wrong. Being led into a courtroom in a jumpsuit and shackles has an immediate prejudicial effect, no matter what is said about innocence until guilt is proven. Having the ability to walk in and out of the courthouse freely can level the playing field for a defendant charged with a crime.
Additionally, incarceration is shown to change how your brain functions and increase cortisol – the “stress hormone”. These hormones are said to increase about 20-30% above the baseline for a healthy individual once one enters jail and can have serious health consequences. Thus, securing a release from jail while your case unfolds is critical not only to your defense but to your body’s health and survival.
How to Reduce or Modify Bond in Florida
If you have been arrested for any criminal offense, you are entitled to an emergency bond hearing. Even if you are being held on a “no bond” warrant, an experienced Orlando bail and bond lawyer can request that the court modify your bond and consider release based on your circumstances. The Florida Constitution provides that every person charged with a crime is entitled to pretrial release with reasonable conditions. Our lawyers are ready and available to make your voice heard and fight for a fair bail amount and potential release from jail.
Talk to an Orlando Defense Attorney to Discuss Bail and Bond Reductions or Release
At Joshi Law Firm, PA, we understand that your liberty is at stake from the outset of the case. A strong defense starts with a fair and reasonable bond and release from jail whenever possible. To start building your defense strategy, contact our Orlando criminal lawyers today.