When a person is arrested in Florida, he or she is entitled to a bond reduction hearing, if unable to post the original bond set at the time of arrest. When this situation occurs, it will be necessary to have an attorney schedule the hearing as quickly as possible to expedite the person’s release from custody.
Florida law requires that when the accused is first arrested, he or she is normally entitled to a bond, with some exceptions spelled out below. The amount of bond is determined by a uniform bond schedule set by the jail in the jurisdiction where the arrest took place. The 2016 uniform bond schedule for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, which consists of Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties is currently the following:
Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Bond Schedules
Charlotte County Bond Schedule
When a person is arrested and unable to immediately post a bond, he or she will be brought in front of a judge, normally within 24 hours of the arrest. That court appearance is called an “advisory” or “first appearance” hearing. At that hearing, the judge has the discretion to keep the bond as set, reduce or increase the bond, or release the accused without requiring a bond. Sarasota County and Manatee County each have a program called “supervised release”, or “SPR”, which was created as an alternative to a monetary bond. The supervised release program requires the person who is released report to the supervised release program as a condition of release.
If the set bond is too high, the accused can file a bond reduction hearing. Those motions are generally scheduled by an attorney, who must coordinate the hearing time with both the presiding judge, as well as the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office. At that hearing, the court will consider the person’s prior criminal background, previous failures to appear, and ties to the community, such as employment and family members living in the area. The judge will then decided whether the bond should be reduced.
There are a few notable exceptions, however, such as in capital crimes, where the accused is not entitled to a bond. In those types of cases, the accused person can be held without bond indefinitely until the case is resolved. A person accused of violating probation is also not necessarily entitled to a bond. However, a motion to set bond can still by scheduled by an attorney, which in some cases may succeed in a reasonable bond being set by the Judge.