A bail bond or surety bond is posted at the jail for a defendant for his/her release. It is used as a guarantee that the defendant will appear at all of their scheduled court dates. The person requesting the bail bond will pay a non-refundable 10% fee for state/county bonds and a 15% fee for immigration or federal bonds. Note: For bonds under $1,000, it is a flat $100 fee. They will then be asked to sign an indemnity agreement or promissory note to secure the bond should the defendant fail to appear in court.
Not all bail bonds require collateral and in most cases a signature is all that is needed. Collateral is something of monetary value that is pledged to secure the bond. This can be in the form of a mortgage, car, cash, jewelry, etc. The collateral that is pledged is returned to the depositor within 21 day after the case is settled. If the defendant fails to appear and the judge orders the bond to be paid, the collateral is then used to pay the bond.
A cash bond is posted directly at the jail in the full amount of the bond. This money is held until the case is over. Once, the case is over you are entitled to a refund, however, court fines and jail fees will be taken out of that during the life of the case. A bail bond consists a power of attorney and appearance bond that is posted at the jail to ensure the defendant’s appearance at all court dates. This form of release is preferred as the judge knows the licensed bail agent will apprehend the defendant should they fail to appear. A bail bond only requires that 10% of the bond is paid to bondsman and the person requesting the bond will also have to sign on the bond or pledge collateral until the case is finished.
All bail bond agents in Florida are licensed through the state and are regulated by rules and statutes. A bail bond agent may only charge a 10% fee for state/county bonds (or $100 if the bond is under $1000) and 15% for federal or immigration bonds. These fees may not be lowered or raised by the bail agent.
All counties have different booking and release timeframes, but the process can take anywhere from a few hours to 24 hours. Inmate charges and workload at the jail can significantly affect the amount of time it takes as well. We make sure our bonds are posted fast and the release process is monitored to ensure the defendant is out as soon as possible.
R.O.R. is a form of release that is decided by a first appearance judge. This form of release means that the defendant will be “released on their own recognizance” or without have to pay a bond. This usually happens in traffic and misdemeanor cases where the defendant has strong ties to the community, little to no prior arrests/charges and cannot afford bail. Pretrial Release can be issued by a judge and is a monitored form of release. The defendant will be required to check in with their Pretrial release supervisor regularly and may also be subject to pay fees, submit random drug testing, have limited freedoms outside of their home and in some cases wear an ankle monitor. Sometimes the defendant will only be released on Pretrial without having to pay a bond but in many cases there is a bond to be paid in addition to the Pretrial Release.
It is important to be cautious when choosing a bail agent. You want to make sure that they are licensed and insured as well as have an office or agent in the county the bond is needed. Some bondsman may charge an extra fee for posting bond in another county. It is important to choose a bondsman who is experienced and knowledgeable so they can advise the defendant on what their obligations are. Make sure the agent seems trustworthy and explains the bail process entirely.
After the defendant’s arrest, they will usually receive a court date by mail in approximately 30 days. This can vary depending on the county or the charges. In order to make sure a court date is not missed; you can check with the clerk of courts or the bail bond agency. We always call defendants prior to their court date as a reminder or in the event they did not receive it in the mail.
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