In the tradition of Broward bond court, a six-figure bond was set for a Dania Beach man accused of a hit and run crash that killed one person and rendered another seriously injured.
In all, the accused has been charged with tampering with physical evidence, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, and leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury. While all serious charges, the total bond set by the first appearance judge was $350,000.
Just to give you a basis for comparison, the total bond amount had this occurred in Miami-Dade County would have probably been about $25,000.
The accused is required to be on house arrest with an electronic monitor if he is able to post the bond.
A bail bond requires that 10% of the total bond amount be paid to the surety. In this case, the family of the accused would have to come up with $35,000 to pay the bond premium.
The accused’s attorney filed a motion to reduce the bond. This bond motion is being considered by the trial court judge. The trial court judge is typically not the same judge who imposes a bond at the first appearance.
If a bond is unusually high, it is not uncommon for a defense attorney to ask the trial court to reduce the bond.
Bond is not set as a punishment. The statutory purpose for bond in the State of Florida is to ensure the defendant’s presence in court. That is all. Obviously the court must consider the defendant’s ties to the community, prior criminal history, and nature of the alleged crime. But the bond set in this Broward County case is over 10 times greater than the standard bond in Miami-Dade County for the same set of charges!
A bond should never be set so high that it is tantamount to no bond at all. Our state and federal constitution affords everybody accused of a crime the right to be free from excessive bail.
Even though the facts in this Broward hit and run case are horrific, leaving the scene of an accident involving death is a bondable offense.
Bond should be reduced and set accordingly.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving clients in Miami and Broward.