Bail Bond Hearing
Unless you are charged with a Capital crime (penalty of life in prison or death) you are entitled to a bond. There are two main purposes of Bond: 1. To assure the Judge that you will attend Court and not flee. 2. To protect the safety of the community from unreasonable danger from the Defendant.
The Judge, when determining a monetary bond amount or pre-trial detention or even to be released on one’s own recognizance or some other form of nonmonetary release restriction, will look at several factors: (F.S. 903.046)
- The nature and circumstance of the offense charged. Obviously the more serious dangerous types of crimes will be viewed more negatively by a judge where a high bond or pretrial detention will be ordered. Those types of crimes include: Arson, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Sexual Battery, Carjacking, Lewd or lascivious indecent assault on a child under 16, Burglary of a Dwelling, Stalking and Aggravated Stalking, Domestic Violence, Manufacturing of Drugs.
- The weight of the evidence against the Defendant. Obviously the more solid the evidence is against the suspect could result in an unfavorable, unmanageable bond amount.
- The Defendant’s family ties, property ownership, employment history and mental condition.
- The Defendant’s criminal history, any record of flight from the courts, is the defendant currently out on bond for another pending criminal matter, is the Defendant currently on probation, which this new charge would cause a violation of probation.
A high Bond amount is tantamount to no bond at all. A millionaire may be able to post a $100,000 bond with no problem, while the average person may not be able to do so. With that in mind Appellate Courts have also ruled that the Defendant’s inability to make a particular bond is not unlawful. Even with a bail bondsman, his fee is typically 10% of the bond amount plus collateral. Often in Drug Trafficking cases or big fraud cases especially in Federal Court, a Nebbia hearing is conducted where the person who is posting the bond must show that the money for the bond is not coming from the criminal enterprise (sale of drugs –cocaine, crack etc.)
At a Bond hearing to reduce Bond or even set bond, the lawyer will show that the Defendant has ties to the community, e.g. job, property, family. Remember it is not necessary that a defendant's ties to a community be the same community where the alleged crime occurred. A lawyer’s job at the bond hearing is also demonstrate the judge to that the evidence against his client is weak or improperly acquired.
Even in Capital crimes, one still may get a bond upon conducting an “Arthur Hearing”, where all the factors discussed above in F.S. 903.046 are evaluated as well as making a determination if the proof is evident or not evident; is the presumption great that the Defendant committed the crime or not great. Remember, even O.J. Simpson was getting a bond in his double murder case, but when he demonstrated he was a “flight risk” he was denied bond.
Bail Bond Case Law Update:
- The court errs in ordering that the defendant be held without bond when the court fails to determine whether defendant’s failure to appear while out on bond was willful. Paul v. Ryan, __ So. 3d __, 38 F.L.W. D874 (3d DCA 4/17/2013)
- The court errs in granting a motion for pretrial detention under sec. 907.041(4) (a) (12) and rule 3.132 without making written findings of fact or conclusions of law. Rancy v. State, __ So. 3d __, 38 F.L.W. D869 (5th DCA 4/17/2013)
- The court errs in revoking bond and ordering defendant held without a hearing when the court receives a notice that defendant may have violated a no alcohol condition. The defendant is entitled to notice and a hearing before bond is revoked. Fuller v. State, __ So. 3d __, 38 F.L.W. D1482 (5th DCA 7/3/2013)