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    Questions and Answers Regarding Bail in the state of Florida

    what happens when someone is arrested in florida


    When someone is accused of or arrested for a crime, bail is a condition of release, a bond or collateral submitted on behalf of a defendant’s pretrial release. Bail ensures the court a defendant will appear in court on his or her scheduled date, as well as obey any stipulations required in order for his or her release.


    The magistrate of the court approves and decides what type of inmate release a defendant in jail will be eligible for while waiting for their trial to prove their innocence. In most Florida counties, bond schedules are allowed and used per Supreme Court Ruling of Walker v. City of Calhoun, Georgia. Many arrestees are released prior to seeing a judge due to the effectiveness of standing bond schedules. If a defendant has not bonded out within 24 hours, they will be seen by a magistrate judge to determine if a more suitable form of release is available.


    A bail hearing is the process in court to determine if a defendant should be allowed to post bail for release while awaiting his trial. However, there are other types of inmate release. If the suspect is eligible, he may be released from jail on supervised release (SOR), his own recognizance release (OR), money bond (surety) or other conditional releases, such as ankle monitors.


    According to Florida Statutes 903.16, when the full amount of bail is paid in cash by an indemnitor for a defendant to the court, the court clerk holds onto the money until the suspect has completed all requirements of the court, including attending all court dates and meeting all accompanied court ordered requirements.


    Almost all of the counties in Florida have their own inmate databases. If you know the county where the person you are looking for may have been arrested, simply do a search online for the law enforcement agencies in that area. You can also use an online tool provided by to find inmates throughout the United States. Bail Bonds Now provides a statewide inmate search tool here on our website. You will be required to do your search by county.


    After someone has been arrested, he or she is booked and fingerprinted into the county jail. A judge or bond schedule (if applicable) will decide whether or not the defendant is able to be released back into the community while waiting for their court date and at what cost. If a bond is offered, an indemnitor (friend or family member) has the ability to either pay the full bail amount set by the court, or to contact a local bail bondsman who will get the inmate released for only a small percentage of the bail amount.


    Most law enforcement agencies have their own inmate search tools somewhere on their website. Typically, you can do a search for the inmate using his first, last name and date of birth (if you have it). If the inmate has been bonded out, his or her profile will most likely indicate a bond has been posted with the term ‘surety bond’. The inmate may have also been released on another type of pretrial release, such as ‘SOR’ (aka: Supervised Release) or ‘OR’ (aka: Own Recognizance). These types of release allow the defendant to go home based on his own commitment to appear in court as scheduled (and usually other requirements stated within the court order). Release without bond is common for non-violent offenders without a criminal history. Those arrested for DUI in Florida are often released this way if they have not been convicted for the same or another offense prior.


    The name of an indemnitor (those who bail out someone from jail) for bailing out a pretrial defendant in Florida is confidential information and not to be given out to anyone. The surety company that issued the bond would have that information. But again, the agent is in a fiduciary agreement with the indemnitor and client. Therefore, a bond agent is not at jurisdiction to give out names of indemnitors.


    In most cases, it takes between two and eight hours to be released from county jail after a bond has been posted. You will want to be sure you’re using a licensed, experienced and reliable bondsman in order to make the process as fast as possible. Once the bondsman posts a bond, it is up to jail administration to complete the paperwork process for the actual release.


    In Florida, the amount set for bail for a felony crime will be usually be based on each county’s own Uniform Bond Schedule. For example, in Hillsborough County (Tampa Area) the bond schedule for felony charges begin with City or County Ordinance Violations at $250, but reach as high as $15,000 for First Degree Felony. The other Florida counties use similar bond schedules. But it is up to the magistrate judges to make the final call.


    Bail bond amounts are contingent upon the type of crime the defendant is accused of. Florida state bonds typically cost ten percent (10%).


    An inmate waiting to be released from jail who has been given a set amount for cash bail has the option of paying the full amount of bail required by the courts or using a surety bond company to pay a small percentage of the full bail amount. If paying the full bail amount is preferred, this may be paid to the court directly using cash, a cashier’s check or money order.


    If an inmate has paid the full bail amount directly to the court, he or she will receive a full refund after they have attended all court appearances and met all court ordered requirements (minus any required court fees). But keep in mind, if a commercial bondsman provides a surety bond for the release, whatever money paid to the bond agent is non-refundable.


    Unsecured bail bonds are a form of pretrial inmate release allowing the defendant to get out of jail without money being offered up front. An unsecured bail bond simply holds an arrestee liable based on the bond’s conditions (or court ordered contingencies). The defendant simply signs a contract agreeing to appear in court as scheduled. If he or she fails to show up for their trial, the full amount of bail will be required of the defendant.


    If someone you care about has been arrested in another state, the first thing to do is verify where the inmate is by doing a search online to find the county sheriff’s inmate finder tool. This is usually found on the sheriff’s website. Once you discover where the inmate is and what the bond amount required for his or her release, call a bail bondsman within that area. There is also a website called that offers a nationwide search. The best way to find a bondsman nearby the jail is to search using the same zip code as the correction facility. The bondsman in that state will know how to handle the release.


    When a judge agrees to release an inmate on his own recognizance (OR) or supervised release (SOR), money will not be required to get the person out of jail. If an inmate is eligible for release on money bail, the indemnitor (person who is arranging bail for the inmate) will need to pay the full required amount for the inmate’s release to the court directly or pay a bondsman a smaller portion of the bail amount, which is the fee required (and is not refundable). In circumstances where the bail amount is set at $10,000 or more, payments may be arranged at the discretion of the bail bondsman. In some cases where high bail amounts are required, collateral is often used to secure the release by the courts and/or bondsman.


    When someone pays the full amount of bail directly to the court, that money will be refunded after the defendant has appeared at all required court hearings and abided by all court-ordered requirements while out on bail (minus any fees required by the court). If the defendant does not meet all of these requirements, the money will not be returned. If the defendant is found ‘not-guilty’ the bond is discharged. When a defendant is found guilty, the bond amount is released upon sentencing. If a secured or property bond (aka: collateral) was used for the inmate’s release and the defendant does not meet all of the court-ordered requirements for his or her release, the court will seize whatever property (collateral) was used in place of actual money. If a bondsman arranged for the inmate’s release, no refund is given at any time.


    After an inmate has been booked and fingerprinted in Florida, most counties offer a systematic bond schedule with bond amounts based on the type of crime committed. However, an inmate is only eligible for release at the discretion of the judge. Some of those who are arrested may be eligible for supervised release or a release on their own recognizance if it is a first offense and the suspect is not considered a threat to the community.

    Once a bond has been offered by the court, anyone who is of age eighteen or over with a state ID or passport can bail someone out of jail by either paying the full amount set by the court or by purchasing a surety bond for a small portion of the full bail amount from a commercial bondsman. That person is called the ‘indemnitor’. The indemnitor applies for the bond on behalf of the defendant, but the indemnitor is responsible to make sure the defendant appears at all required court dates and abides by all court orders attached to the pretrial release.


    Most bail bondsman will accept payments with cash, debit or credit card. For large bond amounts (usually a minimum of $10,000) payment plans are often accepted. In some cases, collateral (i.e. property, vehicles, etc.) may be used to accommodate large bond amounts. For the most part, payment arrangements may vary based on the bail bond agent.


    Typically, a bond for a failure to appear in Florida is either $2,000 or twice the value of the monetary commitment or undertaking of the of the original bond, whichever is greater.

    A full explanation of ‘Failure to appear’ bonds are in Florida state statutes 903.046Purpose of and Criteria for Bail Determination’, item (d).


    When a defendant fails to show up for any scheduled court date while out of jail on the full set bail amount ordered by the court, any bail money paid upon the inmate’s release is routed to the clerk of the court. No money will be returned to the indemnitor or defendant (this includes any type of collateral used). If a bail bond was purchased by a commercial bondsman in place of the full bail amount ordered by the court, the court then demands for the surety company (aka: bail bondsman) to pay the amount pledged as security to the court.


    When a bail bond agent posts a bond for the release of a pretrial defendant, he or she is responsible for making sure the suspect shows up for all court dates and does not become a problem for victims or the community. Therefore, when a bondsman issues a bond for the inmate’s release, an agreement is signed between the inmate and the bail bond company within the bail bond application.

    If the defendant fails to show up for any of the required court dates or to abide by the bail bond agreement or conditions ordered by the court, the bail bond company has the right to release the bond. However, a bondsman cannot revoke a bond based on funds received or not received. Conversely, if the defendant fails to meet all payment requirements for a bond and then should need a bail bond again in the future, his failure in paying the previous bond could affect the defendant’s ability to obtain a new bond if arrested again.


    Skipping bail (aka ‘jumping bail”) takes place when a defendant posts bail to be released from jail while waiting for his trial(s). But he then does not show up for a court date intentionally to avoid prosecution or sentencing. When a suspect skips bail, it is often treated as a new crime (a felony crime in some regions). Yet, the court must prove the defendant is guilty of purposely avoiding his hearing. If a defendant is indeed found guilty for skipping bail, the sentence could result in large fines and possible prison time.

    How to bond someone out of jail in Florida:

    In Florida, there are different ways to post bail. You can pay the full bail amount directly to the court or use a bail bondsman. If you choose to use a bail bondsman, you typically pay a percentage of the bail amount (usually 10%) as a fee, and the bondsman covers the rest. The bondsman may also require collateral. See Florida Statutes Title XLVII, Chapter 903.

    Can You Pay Bond With a Credit Card?

    It depends on the policies of the specific court or bail bondsman. Some courts may accept credit cards for bail payments, while others may require cash or other forms of payment. Bail bondsmen may also have different payment policies.

    Can bail be posted on weekends and holidays in Florida?

    In Florida, many courts allow for bail to be posted 24/7, including weekends and holidays. However, it’s essential to check with the specific court or jail facility as procedures may vary. See Florida Statutes Title XLVII, Chapter 903.

    Are there any restrictions on travel while out on bail in Florida?

    Typically, when someone is out on bail, there may be restrictions on travel outside of a specified area without the court’s permission. The specific conditions of bail, including travel restrictions, are set by the court and may vary based on the nature of the charges and individual circumstances.
    See Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.131.

    How does a bail bonds service work for non-Florida residents?

    Bail bond services for non-Florida residents typically work similarly to those for residents. Non-residents can use a local bail bondsman to secure the release of the person in custody. However, the process may involve additional considerations, and some bondsmen may require more stringent conditions or collateral.

    Difference between a cash bond and a surety bond:

    Cash Bond: A cash bond requires the full bail amount to be paid directly to the court. If the defendant appears at all required court dates, the cash is returned, minus any court fees. It is a direct payment of the entire bail amount.

    Surety Bond: A surety bond involves a third party, usually a bail bondsman, who pays the bail on behalf of the defendant. The defendant pays a fee, typically 10% of the bail amount, and the bondsman provides a guarantee to the court that the defendant will appear for all hearings.

    See Florida Statutes Title XLVII, Chapter 903

    Can bail be contested or renegotiated in Florida?

    Bail can be contested or renegotiated in certain circumstances. Defendants or their legal representatives can file a motion to request a bail reduction or modification. The court will consider factors such as the nature of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, and the likelihood of the defendant appearing at future court dates.

    See Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.131

    Responsibilities of a defendant released on bail:

    Defendants released on bail are typically required to adhere to specific conditions set by the court. Common responsibilities include appearing at all court hearings, avoiding illegal activities, and adhering to any travel restrictions. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in the forfeiture of bail.

    See Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.131

    What happens if the defendant is re-arrested while out on bail?

    If a defendant is re-arrested while out on bail, it may lead to the revocation of bail. The court may decide to revoke the bail and remand the defendant back into custody. The severity of the new charges and the circumstances surrounding the re-arrest will influence the court’s decision.

    See Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.131

    How does an ankle monitor work as a condition of bail?

    An ankle monitor, also known as an electronic monitoring device, is a wearable device that tracks the defendant’s movements. It is often used as a condition of bail to ensure compliance with court-ordered restrictions, such as house arrest or curfew. The monitor sends signals to authorities if the defendant violates the specified conditions.

    See Florida Statutes Title XLVII, Chapter 948 

    What is a walk-through bond process in Florida?

    The walk-through bond process in Florida is designed for individuals with an outstanding arrest warrant, allowing them to arrange their bail before surrendering to authorities, thus minimizing jail time. This process involves coordinating with a bail bond agent to have the bond prepared in advance, facilitating a quicker release after booking. While specifics can vary by jurisdiction, the essence of this process is consistent across Florida, emphasizing efficiency in the legal system.

    Are there any bail bond discounts available for veteran offenders?

    Florida statutes do not explicitly provide bail bond discounts for veterans. Discounts may be offered at the discretion of individual bail bond agencies as part of their service offerings. Veterans are encouraged to inquire directly with agencies about potential discounts.

    Are there any bail bond discounts available for first-time offenders?

    Like discounts for veterans, bail bond discounts for first-time offenders are not mandated by Florida law but may be provided at the discretion of the bail bond agency. Agencies might offer reduced rates to first-time offenders recognizing their typically lower risk.

    What is the process for revoking bail if the defendant violates conditions of release?

    If a defendant violates their release conditions, the court can revoke bail following a violation notification and, typically, a hearing. The process includes issuing an arrest warrant and taking the defendant into custody.

    See Florida Statutes Title XLVII, Chapter 903.047

    How does the bail process work for juvenile defendants in Florida?

    For juveniles, the bail process differs, focusing on a detention hearing rather than bail. This hearing decides whether the juvenile is released to guardians or detained further, based on factors like the charge’s nature and the juvenile’s history.

    See Florida Statutes Title XLVII, Chapter 985


    Learn more about Florida Criminal Procedure and Corrections Statutes

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