Bond hearings are usually only heard once. You want to put your best foot forward – and get the best possible attorney money can buy – to get the bond lowered! That is the goal after all, right? Hire a lawyer that you believe cares about you and will fight for you.
The best advice any lawyer can give you in a bond hearing is this: talk to an experienced lawyer about what will be covered in the bond hearing. Get the good stuff out and minimize the bad stuff without glossing over it like it doesn’t matter. Judges are smart. They don’t like to be told what to do, what is important, or what they should consider. Once the Judge makes a ruling as to the bond amounts and conditions, it can be hard to change their minds.
Bond hearings are usually held for two main reasons: (1) the bond is too high; or (2) the conditions of the bond are too harsh or unfair. Judges take a variety of factors into account when determining how high or low to set a bond in a criminal case. First and foremost, the judge will be concerned with protecting the community and the public at large. If there are no conditions that he or she believes will protect the community from the accused, they will not release you. Secondly, the judge will want to know that you will return to court to resolve your case. They have to give you a bond you can afford. Giving a bond that is way out of your reach is not legal.
Emergency bond hearings may be held if they lawyer acts quick enough and is successful in getting hearing time before the judge. An experienced lawyer knows how to get an emergency bond hearing set right away. It takes knowing who to contact and how.
If your attorney can get an emergency bond hearing set, he or she will want to present argument to the court as to why the court should lower the bond or remove/alter some of the conditions of release. Ways of reducing the bond amount include showing how the family’s financial resources are limited and how they can never raise enough money or collateral to make bail. If there is a no contact order as a condition of release, the victim can come in and ask the judge to allow contact and to allow the defendant to return home if they have no other place to go until the case is resolved. It usually takes a substantial change in circumstances to get a new bond hearing if one has already been heard.
Home confinement or GPS monitors may also be imposed if the court deems them necessary. If you are not a citizen of the United States, the court may seize your passport. But the court can also do that if you are a citizen to try to prevent you from fleeing the country.
Your bail bond lawyer will want to try to convince the court that you will make all your future court appearances. Having family members present helps. Showing your ties to the community will help. Mentioning your lack of prior criminal history will help. Every argument should be made.
Despite getting a bond set, you may still be ineligible for release on a bond if there is a hold. An immigration hold, victim hold, Nebbia hold (or Nebia hold), or a VOP hold are all examples of holds that the court can impose to prevent your release on bond. If there is a hold, that will significantly hinder your ability to be released. An immigration hold requires contact with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services department. A victim hold requires the victim be notified in advance of your release. If the State cannot get a hold of the victim, that can cause you to remain in jail. A Nebbia order (or Nebia order) is a hold that requires a hearing to show that the bond money did not come from an illegitimate source, such as drug dealing or theft.
Florida’s anti-murder act may also prevent you from getting released on bail. The anti-murder act will preclude your ability to be released if you are on any felony probation and commit certain felony offenses, such as kidnapping, carjacking, robbery, murder, sexual batter and many others. If you are arrested for any of the listed offenses while on felony probation, you will be summarily denied a bond under Florida’s anti-murder act.
Courts can inquire as to the source of the funds used to post a bond in any criminal case. They may even hold what is called a Nebbia Hearing and make the defendant prove that the funds do not come from illicit activity. Click here to learn more about Nebbia Holds.
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