If you do not have the ability to post the amount of bond initially set you can request a bond hearing. In a bond hearing the Judge will consider any facts the Court considers relevant. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.131(b)(3) specifies some facts the Court should consider. They are;
- The nature and circumstances of the offense charged. A nonviolent misdemeanor such as Petit Theft will be looked at much differently than a violent felony such as Aggravated Battery.
- The penalty provided by law. The more substantial a penalty can be the higher a Court will set bail.
- The weight of the evidence. At the bond hearing the Court will have a brief synopsis of the facts of the accusation. The State Attorney can also supplement the facts by eliciting testimony from witnesses. If it appears that there is a great deal of evidence against you the Court will set a higher bond than if it appears there is just barely probable cause.
- Your family ties to the community. The more relatives you have that live in the community the more likely the Court will set a lower bond. The Court knows that even a hardened criminal will come home to see his mother. A happy marriage with children can provide a powerful motive for you to face your legal obligations.
- Length of residence in the community. It is harder to get a transient to appear for court than someone who has lived in the community for a long time.
- Employment history. It is more likely a person will appear for Court if they have a high paying job or a job they have held for a long time, than someone who is unemployed or changes job frequently.
- Financial Resources. A Court will usually set a much lower bond amount for a person with a spouse and children and a stable but low paying job than a person with access to a substantial amount of money but no other favorable factors. A bond amount should be set so bond can be posted but still provides an incentive to return to face the charges.
- The need for substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment and a defendant’s mental condition. The Court would be very concerned about releasing someone who appears to be a drug addict or mentally unstable back onto the streets. Release into a treatment facility might be considered.
- The defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions. The Court will consider prior convictions for several reasons. A Judge may think someone who has many prior convictions is more likely to continue to prey upon the community. Also a prior record would lead to a harsher sentence.
- Previous flight to avoid prosecution. If someone has run from the law by leaving the County and trying to conceal themselves a Court may think they will do so again. An Attorney can show how circumstances are different now and the reasons you ran last time no longer exist.
- Previous failure to appear at court. This refers to people who, for whatever reason, did not go to court as required. Maybe you forgot about the date or thought Court was on another day. Maybe your child was sick and you tried to reschedule the Court date but could not. A good explanation for a failure to appear is essential to getting a lower bond.
- The nature and probability of danger that the defendants release poses to the community. The Court will be very concerned about releasing someone who could be dangerous in the community. Violent crimes, drug dealing or extremely dangerous driving are a few crimes that could lead to injury or death. Judges will set higher bonds for these types of offenses.
- The source of funds used to post bail. If it is your own money or your parents money that you are using to post bail the Court will think you have more incentive to not let the money be forfeited. If the money is coming from some shady character or from criminal activity the Court will set a higher bond. The State Attorney can also take steps to prohibit money from criminal activity being used to post bond.
- Whether the defendant is on release from another criminal proceeding or is on probation or parole. If you are out of Jail on one crime and get accused of another crime the Court will be very concerned. Anger, mental instability, or drug addiction are just some of the reasons a person could be committing a series of crimes. Your attorney can offer explanations or remedies to each of these situations so the Court will set a reasonable bond. Your previous bond can also be revoked.
A skillful criminal attorney will know how to gather and present facts to the Court to obtain favorable release terms. An Attorney who has practiced in front of a particular Judge for many years will know what facts that Judge will focus on. With decades of experience in Brevard County the attorneys at Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley have the skills necessary to help you or your loved ones get out of jail. Call us today.