When your loved one is in jail, time stops. You may think that he or she
will never get out.
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
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
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.
An Arthur Hearing should be set by a
Miami-Dade County 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.
If your loved one is being charged with a life felony,
to discuss how we may be able to get a bond, and more importantly, how
we can fight the serious charges.