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Unless charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great, every person charged with a crime or violation or municipal or county ordinance shall be entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions. Bond hearings in the State of Florida are a motion tool available to an accused that allows their bond situation to be addressed by the court. An accused first opportunity to be heard on the possibility of bond is typically at the first appearance hearing. Note, that in some circumstances a bond is attached to a warrant filed against an accused. In this circumstance, once the warrant is executed, the accused may simply pay the attached bond amount and be free without the need for a first appearance. At first appearance, the court will inquire to the nature of the charges, the accused’ prior criminal record if any, and any recommendation made by pretrial release. It is possible that after this inquiry the bond may be handled in the following ways. The court could issue a no bond hold this means that until the accused sees the trial Judge handling their case they will remain in custody. A release on recognizance means the accused will be released and has no supervision or monetary bond to pay. Cash bond is a bond typically that must be paid in cash to the clerk of who will hold the cash until the case is disposed. A surety bond (most common) involves paying a bonding agent usually 10% of the bond premium and having the bond agent pay the remainder of the bond.
After the first appearance hearing, there still may be a need to address the bond. If the Judge imposed a no bond or a dollar amount too high to be paid by the accused, then certainly the accused will want to file a motion with the trial court to impose or reduce the bond in the case. The motion will need to state in specifics all family ties the accused has in the county of arrest or state of Florida, any employment, current funds, all banking accounts, wages earned, dependents, criminal history, ties to third world countries and more. The idea in this motion is to show the court the accused is not a flight risk which means that the accused intends to appear at all court appearances and that the accused is not a danger to the community at large.
If a hearing is set to hear the issue of bond, the accused will want to give detailed testimony on each of these topics so that the court may have a clear understanding of all factors affecting the consideration of bond. This assumes that the accused is entitled to bond and does not have other cases and or prior record that would subject them to be ineligible for the imposition of a bond. Things like multiple open cases, felony designations such as violent felony offender of special concern and or the accused is currently on probation or community control. Assuming that none of these are present, the Judge after the hearing may elect to take no action, impose a bond, or even lower an already imposed bond based on the evidence provided at a bond motion.
For a Life felony note that a different bond hearing is needed and that is an Arthur Hearing. At this hearing, if proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great, the court even with this has discretion to impose a bond if it feels so compelled however, if this finding is made, typically a bond will not be granted by a Judge.