When police officers arrest criminal suspects, they transport them to jail. Once at the jail, suspects are booked, photographed and fingerprinted. They are asked for identifying information such as birth date and address. Personal items are taken and stored for safe-keeping to be returned when the suspect is released on bail. This may be the time to begin the bail bond process in St. Petersburg.
Most people bond out right away. If the suspect is still in jail, an attorney at Goldman Wetzel will visit the jail to meet with him prior to the First Appearance or Advisory Hearing. If you are in need of an experienced criminal defense team in St. Petersburg, Tampa or Bradenton, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 for a free consultation.
First Steps after Arrest
At your booking in the jail, bail will be set based on a standard schedule. If you are arrested for a felony violation of probation or domestic violence, then there is initially no bond. Within 24 hours, you’ll have your First Appearance or Advisory Hearing. It is here that your attorney can argue to reduce the bond amount.
If you retain an attorney at Goldman Wetzel to represent you, we will work to reduce your bail and challenge the probable cause for the arrest. Bail must be proportional to the charge (or charges) each suspect faces. According to the Constitution, the amount must not be excessive. According to Florida state law [Fla. Stat. § 903.046], the bail amount is determined by the following:
- The nature and circumstances of the offense
- The evidence against the defendant
- The defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources and mental condition
- The defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings
- The probability of danger to the community if the defendant is released
- The source of funds used to post bail
- If the defendant is already out on bond due to other charges
- And other factors, depending on the nature of the charges
If, in the opinion of the judge, your charge is not serious, or he or she believes you are a responsible person with strong community ties and will appear in court for your preliminary hearing, the judge can order your release without bail, known as ROR – release on your own recognizance. If your bail amount is one that you cannot afford, your attorney could file a motion to reduce the amount, though there are no guarantees that will happen.
Here’s another benefit to retaining Goldman Wetzel. Our criminal defense attorneys have strong ties to the bail bond community and can be a part of the bail bond process from the beginning. A bail bondsman acts like an insurance company that is licensed by the state to put up the money that guarantees your court appearances. You must provide some sort of collateral (or cash) for a percentage of your bail and personal information so the bondsman knows where to find you. The bondsman writes the bond to cover the difference that bails you out of jail.
Here’s an example of how the process works. Your bail is $10,000, but you can only raise $1,000. Based on the same factors mentioned above that determine your bail amount, it’s possible to pay $1,000 to the bail bondsman, who will write the bond for the full bail amount. Your lawyer’s familiarity with bail bondsmen means your family members don’t have to do all the legwork to find someone who will write your bond.
All cases are different, and many variables govern the booking and bail process. Our firm helps shepherd you through this process and can help make it as painless (and quick) as possible.
If you or a relative is charged with any criminal offense and needs to be released from jail, Goldman Wetzel offers a free consultation and are available 24 hours a day. Contact us anytime at 727-828-3900. We’ll get back to you quickly!