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How Bail Works in Florida

The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. Jan. 29, 2024

Gavel, handcuffs and moneyFacing criminal charges can be a taxing experience that leads to serious consequences. We understand that during these times, you need someone who can fight for you and provide guidance every step of the way. At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., we are committed to offering robust defense strategies and protecting your rights throughout the legal process.  

Based out of Clearwater, Florida, our firm serves clients throughout New Port Richey, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and the Greater Tampa Bay area. Our team, led by attorneys Robert Lee Hoskins III and Manuel E. Penton, Jr., is dedicated to ensuring a fair legal process for all of our clients. This article aims to provide an overview of how bail works in Florida to help you through this critical aspect of the criminal justice system.  

What Is Bail? 

Bail is a form of security provided to the court to ensure that a defendant returns for court proceedings after being released from jail. In Florida, bail can take several forms, including cash, property, or a bond. The key purpose of bail is not to serve as a punishment but rather to ensure the defendant's appearance in court.  

Most jails in Florida have standard bail schedules specifying bail amounts for common crimes. However, if the bail amount seems unaffordable, a defendant can request a judge to lower it. The judge will then consider various factors like the defendant's community ties, employment status, criminal history, and likelihood of appearing in court.  

Types of Bail in Florida

In Florida, there are several types of bail available:  

Cash Bail: This involves paying the full bail amount directly to the court in cash or check. If the defendant shows up in court as required, the money is refunded, minus any administrative fees.  

Property Bail: Here, property worth the full bail amount is used as collateral. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the property may be seized by the court.  

Bail Bond: A bail bond is provided by a licensed bondsman who guarantees the court that the defendant will appear as scheduled. The defendant or their family pays a fee (usually 10% of the total bail amount) to the bondsman, which is non-refundable.  

Own Recognizance (O.R.) Release: In certain cases, a defendant may be released on their own recognizance, meaning they promise to appear in court and are not required to post bail.  

Who Is Eligible for Bail in Florida?

In Florida, most individuals arrested and charged with a crime are eligible for bail. However, certain factors can influence whether bail is granted and the amount set. It's our job at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., to guide you through this process, helping you understand your rights and options. 

Factors Influencing Eligibility

While most defendants are eligible for bail, several factors can affect both the eligibility and the amount. These include: 

Nature and Severity of Charges: Serious crimes, particularly violent ones or those involving significant amounts of drugs, may result in higher bail amounts or even denial of bail. 

Flight Risk: If a judge believes there's a high chance you'll flee and not appear for court dates, they may deny bail or set it at a high amount to try to ensure your return. 

Criminal History: Defendants with extensive criminal histories, especially those involving failures to appear in court, can face higher bail amounts. 

Community Ties: Those with strong ties to the community, such as long-term residency, stable employment, and family in the area, are often more likely to be granted bail as they're seen as less likely to flee. 

Public Safety: If a judge deems a defendant a danger to the community, they may deny bail to protect the public. 

Strong Legal Representation

Understanding the bail process can be challenging, but you don't have to do it alone. At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., we're here to help. With our vast experience and commitment to your rights, we strive to ensure that you get a fair legal process. Whether you're in Clearwater, New Port Richey, Tampa, St. Petersburg, or the Greater Tampa Bay area, our team is ready to support you every step of the way.