In case you were interested to see how first appearance bond hearings proceed, you may watch them live on your computer.
You may watch live Broward County bond hearings at www.SunSentinel.com/courtvideo.
If you are arrested, you will appear before a judge within 24 hours of arrest. At the first appearance, you will be informed of the charges against you and a bond will be set. Bond amounts depend on the charge, the priors of the offender, and any other factors that the court deems relevant.
By watching the live bond hearings, you may get a better idea of how these proceedings take place. The accused, who is in custody, appears before the court via closed circuit TV. The state is represented by a prosecutor who will typically ask the court to set the most restrictive pre-trial release conditions possible. The criminal defense attorney will make arguments in support of their client. The arguments may attack the probable cause in the affidavit (which the judge must find in order to impose a bond), and persuade the court to impose the least restrictive pre-trial release conditions.
In these hearings, you will see how bonds are set and how your first appearance will occur. I recommend that if you have ever been interested in the inner workings of the criminal justice system, click on the link above and watch the hearings.
Eric Matheny is a bond hearing attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.