Life doesn't wait for you just because you are in jail. In fact, quite the opposite is true. You may lose your job. You may lose your apartment or home.
Generally speaking, most felonies and all misdemeanors are bondable offenses in the State of Florida. That means if you are arrested, a monetary bond will be set to ensure your appearance in court.
The only way you would not be given an immediate bond for a felony or misdemeanor is if you violated the terms of your pretrial release (got arrested while out on bond), or have been charged with a probation violation.
Also, if you have an immigration hold or a hold from another jurisdiction (out-of-county or out-of-state warrant), you will not be given an immediate bond.
But if you are charged with a life or capital felony, you will not be entitled to an automatic monetary bond. These are called non-bondable offenses and you must have an Arthur Hearing.
Some examples of non-bondable offenses are armed burglary, armed robbery with a firearm, armed trafficking, and murder.
An Arthur Hearing should be set by a South Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Arthur Hearing, the State must prove its case by a standard known as "proof evident, presumption great." This is the highest standard in criminal law, even higher than the typical trial-level burden of "beyond a reasonable doubt."
If the judge finds proof evident, presumption great, that the crime occurred as charged, he or she must then determine what pretrial measures should be taken. The most severe is pretrial detention, where you remain in jail without a bond. Other measures include house arrest or simply a monetary bond.
Defendants who remain in jail pending serious charges may remain in jail for years before the case is resolved or goes to trial. That's because it takes a long time to prepare a defense to these serious life felonies. I'd rather my client be out of custody, at home, and working while I prepare his or her defense.
Defendants who remain in jail are also more likely to accept pleas that will send them to prison. In my opinion, I find that the prevailing mentality is, "I've been here this long, what's a couple more years?"
A defendant out of custody may be more likely to get a plea offer that does not include jail or prison time. That is because prosecutors believe that a defendant out of custody will not walk into custody, but a defendant in custody will remain in custody.
Believe me, I am a former prosecutor. That's how these people think.
If your loved one is being charged with a life felony, call me to discuss how we may be able to get a bond, and more importantly, how we can fight the serious charges.