Bail Bonds

Criminal Law 101


money

When you are arrested in the State of Florida, you are entitled to a bond unless you are charged with a life or capital felony and the State can show onto the judge that, with the evidence they have against you, the “proof is evident and the presumption great.”

Put simply, bonds exist to ensure the defendant will return to court to resolve the case.  If you are arrested for a petit theft, perhaps a $250 bond is sufficient.  Most people won’t risk blowing off court for a simple misdemeanor that has a maximum 60-day sentence.  Failing to appear will result in forfeiture of the $250, which (to most people) isn’t the end of the world.  However, the Judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and could suspend your license (with what is called a D-6 suspension).  So the next time a cop runs your license plate or pulls you over, you are going back to jail – and this time, there will not likely be another bond.

On the flip side, if you are arrested for a much more serious crime like aggravated assault with a firearm (which carries a 3 year minimum prison sentence if you are convicted), a bond will need to be higher even if you don’t have any criminal history.  The amount of the bond may differ from person to person.  If you are like most Americans, a $5,000 will be sufficient to ensure you return to court.  But if you have $50 million dollars in the bank and are just in Florida on vacation and you’re getting ready to fly back to Australia, you probably need a higher bond.

In most cases, a bond will be set for in accordance with the local bond schedule.  Sometimes, however, bonds can be a little high.  If you or a family member or friend is in jail with a high bond, contact us to see if we can get a bond hearing scheduled to try to lower the bond.  Naturally, you may want to try to find the best bail bond attorneys in Orlando to get into court to try to convince the judge to lower the bond or alter the conditions of release.  However, keep in mind that you may not be able to hire an attorney just to handle the bond hearing. When a lawyer files their notice of appearance as your attorney, they almost always have to stay in the case until it is resolved.

Bail bonds companies usually charge the same amount for bonds.  It is usually 10% of the total amount of the bonds and/or $100 per bond.  They may, however, require collateral for the remaining 90% in the event that the person they are bonding out does not appear as required for court.  If you have counsel, you may want to tell them that you already have a bail bond lawyer in Orlando.

Example of Bail Bond Use

If your family member has two bonds – one for $50,000 and another for $100, a bail bonds company may require $5,100 as their premium.  They will post the $50,100 worth of bonds with their own money.  If the person they bail out fails to appear for court, the judge may forfeit the bond or estreat the bond. When that happens, the clerk of the court will contact the bail bondsman to let them know they are going to lose their $50,100.  Obviously, the bondsman is not going to be happy about that and will want to make sure they either get you into court or find you and turn you back over to the jail.  They take bond forfeitures and bond estreatures very seriously.

Because bail bondsman sometimes risk such large amounts of their money, they want to hedge their bets and lower their risk by getting collateral from the family.  If there is a failure to appear, they will be able to sell the collateral to cover their loss.