At A Wesley Chapel Bail Bonds, L.L.C. in Wesley Chapel, FL, we offer our clients a guide that is comprised of bail bond-related procedures, regulations, and laws. We encourage you to review the following explanations to gain a better understanding of bail bonds.
After completing the indemnity contracts and collecting the premiums, the bail agent will go to the jail where the defendant is being held and post the bonds. The amount of time that is needed by the detention facility to release the defendant may differ. It usually takes anywhere from two to eight hours for the defendant to get out of the jail. After this, the defendant must report to the surety and complete the paperwork.
Regulation and Regulatory Authority
Chapter 648 of the Florida Statutes, with augmentation from Chapter 69B-221 of the Administrative Rules of the Chief Financial Officer, gives authority for the direct regulation of bondsmen. The rules are made with statutory authority, which can be reviewed the by the courts as if they were statues and must be followed in the same manner. To put it simply, the rule is law.
Bondsmen must obey the provisions of Chapter 903 of the Florida Statutes as it is concerned with the criminal justice aspect of bail.
The chapters are enforced by the Department of Financial Services and by the courts, either directly or indirectly.
“Unless charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great, every person charged with a crime...shall be entitled to pre-trial release on reasonable conditions. If no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained.” (Section 14, Florida Declaration of Rights)
The decision to release or detain a defendant is given to the judges, who are called “committing magistrates” when dealing with criminal cases. The committing magistrates order pre-trial detention in only the most extreme situations to avoid being accused of constitutional violations.
Bond likely will be denied to defendants who have previously jumped bail, have had prior convictions for violent crimes, and/or were arrested with large amounts of drugs. What constitutes the “reasonable” conditions of pre-trial release is the usual decision for each defendant. To assist in this decision, provisions are made for the judge to obtain information concerning the defendant’s previous convictions, ties to the community, etc.
Florida Statutes 903.03 and 903.046 direct committing magistrates to consider various factors, such as the danger posed by the defendant to the community and the possible source of funds that will be used for the bail.
A committing magistrate who decides to impose monetary bail must also set the amount, keeping in mind that he/she is still bound by the constitutional requirements of reasonableness. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that charging excessive bail is equivalent to denying bail.
As per court rulings, the amount of a bond is appropriate if it is low enough for a defendant to post it without undue hardship, yet high enough that he would rather face his accusers in court than forfeit it.
When Decisions Are Made
The conditions and, if applicable, the amount of pre-trial release are sometimes determined before the arrest is made. In the case of warrants, this is especially true because an issued warrant may contain provisions for bail. The judge who signs the warrant is the committing magistrate.
For arrests without warrants, almost all counties have a bond schedule approved by a committing magistrate to cover misdemeanors. In some jurisdictions, the lesser degrees of felonies are included.
According to the Rules of the Florida Supreme Court, a defendant who was not previously released must be taken before a committing magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. This is a formal court proceeding called “First Appearance.”
First Appearance is known as “Advisories” in Pasco County, and “PP Court” or “Preliminary Presumption” in Hillsborough County.
This is where the committing magistrate advises the defendant:
Of the charges against him/her
Of his/her right to remain silent or have his/her statements used against him/her
Of his/her right to an attorney and that one will be provided if he/she cannot afford private counsel
Of his/her right to communicate with family and friends
It is during this time that the magistrate decides whether or not to detain the defendant. First Appearance is held 7 days a week in every county of FL and is public like other formal court proceedings.