How does the bail bond process work in Florida?

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Bail Bonds in Florida

The first thought that crosses a person’s mind when they are arrested and placed in jail is “How can I get out?”. The standard way it by obtaining bail bonds in Florida, and like other states, this can’t be done until a judge sets a bail amount. 

An arraignment judge is responsible for setting the bail amount. Once the judge as ruled the amount of bail, bonds in Florida can be obtained from a bail bond agent or an attorney can sign for your release. 

Sometimes this can take a few hours, sometimes, it can be a day or two. For example, if you’re arrested on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, it could be two to three days before you see the arraignment judge. Tuesday through Thursday, you’ll probably be presented before the judge within a few hours. 

Depending on the reason for the arrest, some governments will have a standard bail schedule. These are common non-violent crimes and allows a defendant to obtain bail bonds in Florida without an arraignment hearing before a judge. 

Okay, but what is bail? 

Bail is what a person that has been arrested has to give the court as a guarantee they will show up in court as ordered. If they defendant doesn’t make the required court appearance, the bail that was given to the court is not returned and a warrant for their arrest is issued. 

Bail bonds in Florida can be obtained in the following ways:

  • Pay the full amount of the bail to the court by cash or check 
  • Sign over property that worth the full amount of bail, like a car, jewelry, real estate
  • Obtaining bail bonds in Florida through a bail bond agent who guarantees the court the defendant will appear before the court as ordered 
  • Sign a waiver of payment on the defendant’s own recognizance that they will make their required court appearance 

When bail bonds in Florida are obtained through a bail bond agent, is generally 10% of the bail must be paid. This doesn’t mean the defendant is being released for less money though. The defendant or a co-signer are responsible to pay the full bail amount to the bail bond agent. In addition to the10% paid to the bail bond agent, there is an additional fee charged by the bail bond agent. That is how they make their money! 

If the defendant or a co-signer can pay the court the full bail amount, minus an administrative fee and court costs, the full amount is returned if all the conditions of the bail are met. If the defendant or a co-signer obtain help with an agent for bail bonds in Florida, that 10% paid to the agent is nonrefundable. 

Depending on a few factors, the agents that provide bail bonds in Florida may require collateral in addition to the 10% payment. This collateral is additional financial interest, typically this is valuable property. Agents that provide bail bonds in Florida will sell this collateral if the defendant doesn’t meet court requirements of bail release or doesn’t appear as ordered in court. 

The four main factors that bail bond agents use to determine if additional collateral is requires are: 

  • The reason for the arrest
  • The criminal background of the defendant
  • The credit history of the defendant and/or co-signer
  • The social standing of the defendant, aka employment, public standing, etc.

Are there bail bonds with no cosigner? 

A co-signer is usually the person that the arrested person contacted to “bail them out” of jail, they are that one phone call the defendant is allowed after their arrest. Bail bonds in Florida typically require a co-signer for bail bond guarantee. This is the person that the bail bond will contact first if the defendant doesn’t appear before the court as ordered.

When you pay a bail bond do you get it back?

If cash is paid to the courts for bail bonds in Florida and all the conditions of the bail release are complied with, the bail is refunded less administrative fees and court costs, once the case has been completed.  This means after the case has gone to court and a ruling has been issued by the judge or jury. Bail bonds in Florida that are obtained through a bail bond agent, the 10% down and any premium paid will not be refunded. 

How long do you have to pay off a bond?

The statues for bail bonds in Florida state the bond is good for 36 months after being posted and the defendant is released from custody. After 36 months, if the case has not gone before the courts and a ruling handed down, new bail bonds in Florida are required. 

What are the ways how to pay off bail bonds?

The most common way is to pay the 10% required fee to the bail bond agent. However, if a defendant or a co-signer do not have the full bail amount or can’t pay the usual 10% required with an agent that provide bail bonds in Florida, some agencies offer bail bonds with payment plans. This will require a credit check along with other factors before that is offered, and if t by the bail bond agency. They will a bail bond with a down payment and a signed agreement for the installment payments.        

What happens to bond money when someone jumps bail?

With bail bonds in Florida, if the defendant doesn’t show up in court, and the bail amount was paid to the court, they will keep the full amount paid when the defendant was released. Then an arrest warrant is issued for a misdemeanor. This is a First-Degree Misdemeanor with possible sentencing of 12 months in jail plus a fine of $1,000 maximum.

bail bond money

Are bail bonds worth it?

Yes, bail bonds in Florida allows the defendant to return to work or school while living at home until their court date, unless the judge places certain restrictions on the bail release. Those restrictions are typically for domestic abuse and the defendant is not allowed to return home or have any contact with the victim.

Can bail bonds mess up your credit? Yes, if the defendant doesn’t make their require court appearance, or is arrested for breaking any of the restrictions the judge imposed on the bail, this could reflect on the credit of the defendant and any co-signer. If you make an installment plan with the bail bond agent and skip any of the payments, they have the ability and right to file it against your credit. Call (321) 631-2663 today for your bail bonds needs in Flordia.