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Bond Court: When Do You Have To See The Judge And When Can You Just Bond Out?

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When you are arrested in the State of Florida, there are certain occasions where you must remain in custody until you've seen the Bond Court (first appearance) Judge, and other occasions where you can post your bond as soon as you are taken to jail.

Now this can vary from county to county.  Some counties permit you to bond out on most felony charges right away.  This is a predetermined bond amount commonly known as a "convenience bond."  For instance, burglary of a dwelling has a convenience bond of $7,500 in Miami-Dade County, but in Palm Beach County, you must go before the Judge before a bond can be set.  

However, statewide, any domestic violence offense requires an appearance in Bond Court because the Judge must sign a stay-away order, precluding the accused from having any contact with the alleged victim.

For non-bondable offenses, such as kidnapping, murder, burglary with an assault or battery, and armed burglary, you must see the Bond Court Judge as no bond exists for these charges.  It is up to the Judge to set a bond, if at all.  Your criminal attorney can file a specific motion for a bond with the division Judge for non-bondable offenses (known as an Arthur Hearing).

If you are on probation or presently out on bond when you are arrested for a new offense, you must go before the Bond Court Judge because you are not automatically entitled to a bond when you are facing a probation violation or a violation of your bond or pretrial release.  In this situation, the Judge can either set a bond or hold you in custody until you've gone before your division Judge.

Otherwise, if the county in which you are arrested permits convenience bonds, there is a good chance that you can post your bond and be released within a few hours of getting arrested.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.