What Happens When Someone Is Arrested In Florida?

In Florida, after a person is booked into a jail, there may be a bond set by a judge on the arresting papers (called a capias, or warrant). If so, that person is eligible to be released form jail. If someone is arrested without a bond, he or she will probably have to stay in jail overnight and be taken the next day to a hearing called "first appearance," where the judge will: (1) release the person on his or her promise to appear at all subsequent court appearances (called signature release, or recognizance release), (2) set a cash or surety bond, or (3) hold a person in jail with no bond, meaning with no opportunity for release.

Options include:
  • To stay in jail, awaiting disposition of the case;
  • To stay in jail and wait for a bond reduction hearing, if the bond is larger than one can or will pay. This hearing is usually set by an attorney;
  • To put up the full amount of the bond in cash (all or most will be returned when the case is over); and
  • To call a bondsman (also called a “surety agent”), who will charge 10% of the face amount of the bond. This is a nonrefundable fee, and it is rarely returned. (Note: The 10% is mandated by Florida state law; a bondsman may charge no less or no more. Note that some bondsmen will occasionally allow one to make payments toward that 10% of the court-defined bond).
When a bondsman writes a bond, they are promising the courts that he ensures the defendant's presence at every required court appearance. If the defendant misses an appearance, the bondsman will attempt to locate the defendant and return him or her to jail. If the bond agent is unable to locate the missing defendant after 60 days, they will have to give the clerk the full amount of the bond.
A person cannot be returned to jail for not paying the bondsman all the money due on the bond. The bondsman can, however, sue a person in civil court for the amount owed, plus costs. People can have bonds revoked if they are arrested again after posting a bond if they are untruthful on their bond application, change their address(es) without letting the bondsman know in advance, give the bondsman reason to believe they will not go to court or depart the jurisdiction of the court without written permission of the court and the bondsman.
A surety bond is a contract among at least three parties: The obligee – the party who is the recipient of an obligation, the principal – the primary party who will be performing the contractual obligation, the surety – who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task (Wikipedia).
The same thing as a bail bond. In the above example, the obligee is the court, the principal is the person bonded out of jail, and the surety is the bail bondsman – the surety company to which the bondsman is an agent.
What is release on recognizance (ROR)? What is a Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond)? Each of these can occur when the accused is released from jail without having to post some form of cash or bail bond to guarantee future court appearances. Sometimes a judge will release someone based on just their promise to show up for court. Other times the judge may impose certain conditions on release, such as curfew, electronic monitoring, and/or drug testing, among other conditions. And often when someone is to be supervised by a government run pre-trial program, they will be recoged into those various programs.
When someone who has posted cash or a bail bond has been put up for them, and they fail to go to court, the judge will order the bond estreated. This estreature is an order from the judge directing the forfeiture of the cash or the cash amount of the bail bond.
Pre-trial is a government run program that supervises criminal defendants in lieu of them having to post a cash or bail guarantee with the court. The pre-trial employees have no arrest powers and do not suffer any financial consequences due to these defendants failing to go to court. Pre-trial supervision might include drug testing, drug treatment, mental health counseling and treatment, electronic monitoring and daily reporting. These are the only conditions by which a Florida bond agent can revoke a bond without returning the full bond premium!