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Articles Posted in Bail

Suppose you receive a phone call from a friend asking you to bail them out of jail after their arrest. For most of us, this is an uncommon decision to make. Before you make any determinations, it is important to understand the bail process. Upon arrest in Florida, a person is be processed at a local county jail. Bail is a process of posting bail or money at the jail (or court) to ensure a defendant’s return to court.  It is designed to help ensure that individuals show up for subsequent court appearances. Before you post bail or assist a friend in the posting of bond, you should be aware of several considerations.

First, it is imperative to assess the quality of your friendship.  Is this a really good friend or just an acquaintance you are assisting?  In your decision, you may also wish to consider the nature of the charges and the amount of the bond at issue. Further, keep in mind that being charged with a crime is a stressful experience and may provoke behaviors that could lead to the defendant’s absence in court.

The most popular way of bailing someone out of jail is with the assistance of a bail bondsman.  The bondsman will issue a bond for you, which essentially guarantees the court system your friend will be present at future hearings. Generally, bail bondsmen in Florida post the bond themselves and charge a non-refundable fee (10% of the total bond).  The money paid to a bail bondman is known as bail premiums, and this amount is non-refundable. Nonetheless, there are many advantages to hiring a bail bondman to bail your friend. The bail procedures are technical matters that require vast knowledge and experience, and your bail bondsman may guarantee a smooth bailing process. There is a significant amount of paperwork that comes with the bail process, and your bondsman can provide you with the expertise required to handle these documents with accuracy. Keep in mind, when using a bail bond company, it is likely they will require some basic information such as your friend’s name, date of birth, and the name of the detention center where he or she is currently being held. Furthermore, you will need to provide your credit card and driver’s license information for surety purposes. The support of a bail bondsman can go a long way to ensure that all financial and legal matters are handled properly.

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The current monetary bail bond system used in most states, including Florida, has recently come under scrutinization and a bail reform movement has been gaining popularity. Under the monetary system, a defendant will be given a bond amount they are required to pay before they can be released from jail. The purpose of a bond is to assure the defendant appears at their court hearing by returning; the full amount of the bond is returned to them once they appear for all their court dates and the case is complete. Bond also protects the community from potentially dangerous individuals by keeping them incarcerated while their case is resolved.

Numerous concerns have been raised about the monetary system. If a defendant cannot afford to pay their bond they will remain in jail while their case is pending trial or is otherwise resolved simply because they do not have the financial resources to bond out. This can result in the rich being free which the poor remain in jail simply based on economics and not justice or public safety. This also results in defendants who have not yet been convicted of any crime and may very well be innocent spending time in jail, even if they are not a threat to the public and there is no reason to believe they would fail to appear in court. The more time an individual spends in jail the greater the risk they will face negative repercussions in their personal lives, including a loss of employment, housing, and strains on their interpersonal relationships. Having to remain in jail simply because they cannot pay their bond also increases the likelihood a defendant will take a plea deal that may not be in their best interest just to get out of jail sooner instead of remaining incarcerated while they take their case to trial, even if they are innocent. Incarcerating individuals who cannot make bond is also an increased cost to taxpayers. Continue reading

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