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How can a defendant get out of jail pending trial?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

One of the primary concerns of a person who’s in jail is getting released while their case is moving through the criminal justice system. While some are able to be released on their own recognizance, which means with a signed promise to appear in court, others have to post bail.

Bail is a critical component of the judicial system in Florida. It offers a way for individuals accused of a crime to remain free until their trial. Understanding the nuances of these terms and their application is essential for anyone navigating the legal system in this regard.

The basics of bail in Florida

Bail is the amount of money a person has to put up with the court as an assurance that the person will appear in court. The amount is determined during a bail hearing and can vary widely based on the severity of the crime, the defendant’s past criminal history, ties to the community and perceived flight risk.

If the defendant attends all required court appearances, the bail money is returned, minus any administrative fees. However, if the defendant fails to appear, the bail is forfeited to the court and an arrest warrant is issued.

When a defendant can’t afford bail

Some defendants can’t afford bail. In those cases, they may work with a bondsman who will issue a bond to the court on behalf of the defendant. This usually costs 10% of the bail plus fees, none of which are returned to the defendant, even if they appear in court.

In Florida, as in many states, bail amounts for common charges are often predetermined by a bail schedule. Yet, even under these circumstances, a judge has the discretion to adjust this amount based on the specifics of the case. Partially due to all that is at stake, and partially due to the complexity of criminal defense challenges, having a legal representative at a bail hearing may provide a more favorable outcome for someone who just wants to go home.