If you find yourself needing bail, you may be wondering, how do bail bonds work in Florida? Fortunately, you’ll be happy to know that the process is fairly streamlined and simple. It’s managed by the Department of Insurance, a division of Consumer Affairs, and all the regulations ensure that reputable bail bond agents and organizations are the only ones doing business in the state.
Bail is the money required for a person to be released from jail during the wait for their trial. This could range from as little as $500 to as much as $500,000 or more, depending on the type and severity of the crime, as well as the circumstances of the case and the individual. For example, someone with a minor crime may not have to pay bail at all, while someone charged with corporate-level embezzling that presents a big flight risk could have a maximum bail amount to ensure they don’t flee.
If their crimes were extreme or the court decides they are very likely to commit further crimes, some people are denied bail altogether. In this case, a bail bondsman cannot help until or unless the defense attorney makes the argument to get bail allowed. For everyone else, here’s how the process works.
After the Arrest
When someone is arrested in the state of Florida, they are given a bail hearing that sets the amount of their bail. This hearing is to take place as soon as possible after the arrest and is usually done within 24-48 hours. Once bail has been set, the defendant can pay the bail or seek a bail bonds company to help them post bail.
When a bail bonds company agrees to work with a defendant, they are making a contract with that defendant to use the company’s professional reputation (and assets) to assure the courts that the defendant will not flee and that the defendant will follow any provisions of their release. The only money exchanged here is a nominal fee of about 10%, which has to be paid to the bail agent by the defendant before they will post bail on the defendant’s behalf.
Bail amounts in Florida are based on a pre-set bail schedule, but all courts have the right to modify and adjust bail amounts based on the specifics of a case or arrest. Therefore, until someone attends a bail hearing, they will not know exactly what they are to pay.
Hiring a Bail Bonds Agent
If you’re wondering how do bail bonds work in Florida, your best course of action is to hire a reputable bail agent that can help you through the process. Once you contact them, they will ask you to provide collateral to back up the bail bond. You will also have to pay a fee of 10-15% of the total bail amount, depending on the agency and the crime in question. This payment is not refundable—that is, you don’t get it back after the hearing is done, no matter how “good” you are in the interim.
In return for your fee and collateral, the bail bonds agent will deliver the bail bond to the courts, supporting your release and promising your appearance at your later hearing. Once you show up to court for your trial and the legal process is completed, the bail process will also be completed and your relationship with the bail bond agent will cease.
What if Someone Skips Bail?
If you’re wondering how do bail bonds work in Florida, you might also want to know what happens if someone fails to follow the process. If a defendant does flee or otherwise fails to live up to the rules and guidelines of their bail, they will forfeit any bail they paid and they’ll be considered a fugitive effective immediately. Any assets that they put up to the bail bonds agency will be forfeited to the agency, and the agency will be expected to pay the full bail amount now that the individual has “skipped bail.”
Bail agents are financially and professionally liable if the defendant doesn’t live up to their bail agreement. Since a bail agency will pay the full bail – potentially a large amount of money – bail companies will come looking for that client.
Count on a Reputable Bail Agent to Help You
Whether you’re looking for a bail bond for yourself or a loved one, hiring a reputable bail bond company in the State of Florida will ensure that you get the best outcome. They will help you understand required court appearances, facilitate your release from jail, and help you with other aspects of the process. When you can’t afford bail, this is the best option and it can make the entire experience a lot less difficult.
Next time you’re wondering, how do bail bonds work in Florida, you won’t have to wonder because now you know how it works.