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Everything You Need to Know About Bonds in Florida

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Unless charged with a non-bondable offense, you are entitled to pretrial release, pursuant to the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution.

What is a Bond?

The purpose of a bond is to ensure the presence of the accused in court. A bond is an amount of money set by the court that must be paid before the accused is released. You can post a cash bond (which is the entire amount), or hire a bondsman, who will post the bond for a 10% charge (this is the fee to the bondsman and is non-refundable).

What are the Different Types of Bonds?

There are different types of bonds or methods of pretrial release: non-monetary bonds and monetary bonds.

Non-Monetary Bonds

You don't always have to pay money in order to post a bond. In both Broward and Miami-Dade, programs are in place for qualified people who may be able to secure their release from custody without paying a monetary bond.

Release On Recognizance

This is a form of pretrial release where the court does not require you to be monitored or to pay any money to get out. You may be ROR'd if you have a local address, have no prior criminal offenses, and the charge you are accused of is a misdemeanor or non-violent felony. The court may still impose pretrial release conditions, such as a stay-away order (or no-contact order), but you will not have to spend money to get out.

Pretrial Services or Pretrial Release

This type of pretrial release will not require you to pay any money, but you must submit to supervision and report to your pretrial officer as ordered. You may also be ordered to wear an electronic monitoring anklet.

Pretrial Services/Pretrial Release also supervises house arrest, which is less restrictive than being held in custody, but is more stringent than simple Pretrial Services or Pretrial Release. You may be placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring, in addition to posting a monetary bond, if you are charged with a serious felony.

To qualify you usually need to have no prior criminal history, a local address, and be charged with a non-violent 3rd-degree felony. In misdemeanor domestic violence cases, Pretrial Services and Pretrial Release are available provided the accused has no priors. Conditions of Pretrial Services/Pretrial Release for all domestic violence cases include stay-away orders from the alleged victims.

When in the Pretrial Services/Pretrial Release program, you must report to a Pretrial officer. This may be an inconvenience, but often it is better than spending money on a bond.

Monetary Bonds

A monetary bond is the most common form of pretrial release. This requires you to pay a premium to a bondsman or post a cash bond in order to be released.

How Much Will Bonds Cost?

  • For DUIs, bonds are typically $1,500.00.
  • For misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, they are usually $1,500 as well. Additionally, domestic violence charges may carry added bond conditions such as stay-away orders.
  • For most second-degree misdemeanors, such as loitering and prowling, driving while license suspended (DWLS), and petit theft (under $100), the bond amount is $500.
  • For most first-degree misdemeanors, such as possession of marijuana, the bond amount is $1,000.
  • For third-degree felonies, such as grand theft, the standard bond amount is $5,000.
  • For second-degree felonies, such as burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, the standard bond is $7,500. Some second-degree felonies, such as aggravated battery, the bond can be as high as $12,500, or more, depending on the facts of the case and the priors of the accused.
  • For first-degree felonies, the bond amount can vary depending on the crime. For theft crimes or property crimes, the bond could be in the range of $10,000 - $12,500. For violent offenses, the bond can be much higher.
  • For some first-degree felonies punishable by life and life felonies, the accused may not be entitled to a bond. A bond may be granted around 45 days after the accused is arrested by way of an Arthur Hearing. This is a specialized court hearing whereby the State Attorney must prove with a high degree of certainty that the accused committed the crime for which they are charge.

These amounts are standard bonds.For many trafficking offenses, the Court may impose a high bond, as well as a requirement that the accused person show where the bond money is coming from. This is called a Nebbia requirement, and it means that the accused must show bank account records, affidavits, or other documents demonstrating that the money used to post the bond is not coming from drug-dealing proceeds.

What If I Don't Get Bond?

The most restrictive and most serious pretrial condition is no bond, where you remain in custody. Again, this could be because you are charged with a non-bondable offense. It could also be because you had a warrant issued, you violated probation, or you violated pretrial release conditions.

Remember - if you fail to appear in court, get arrested while out on bond, or violate probation, you will likely remain in jail without a bond pending the disposition of your case.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.