Bail Bond Too Large? These Are Your Options.
In Florida, when a person is arrested, they are taken before a judge at a hearing called “first appearance.” This usually happens within 24 hours of arrest. At this hearing, the judge can either set a bond, can deny bond or can change the amount of a bond (this is also the hearing where most public defender appointments occur, assuming the defendant qualifies for one).
What if you want to bond someone out of jail, but their bond is too large?
One option is to have the defendant request a bond reduction hearing. This hearing is usually set by the defendant’s attorney, and most of the time will be held before the judge assigned to the defendant’s case (there is a good chance that this judge will be a different one than the one from the first appearance hearing). If the person in jail was arrested on a warrant, however, the bond amount on that warrant, if there is a bond, is usually set by the same judge who will be the judge at the bond reduction hearing.
If you do not want to wait to see if the bond will be lowered at a later date, or if the judge has not lowered the bond sufficiently at a previously held bond hearing, there is another option. You can contact a bail bondsman and see if he or she will take a partial payment of the bail bond fee up front and set you up on a payment plan. You probably will be asked to sign a promissory note to guarantee the balance of the fee, but often, if a large amount is owed, the bondsman may hold property or may take a mortgage on real property to guarantee the balance.
And remember, if you co-sign to guarantee a bond premium, you can be and probably will be sued if you miss one or more payments, and you risk losing any tangible property you may have put up to secure the debt.