The felony court for all of Hillsborough County is named the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court. According to the legislature, there are two main purposes in setting pre trial release conditions (ROR, released on one's own recognizance; ankle and/or gps monitoring; bond/bail; other conditions) which are: (1) to ensure the presence of the accused at future court dates, and; (2) to protect the community or any alleged victims from a dangerous defendant. Typical factors in setting bond are ties to the community, violent/past record, record of any failures to appear, any alleged victim or witnesses whom feel they are in danger, whether the defendant was on probation/supervision when this alleged crime occurred, whether the defendant was already out on pre trial release on an unrelated charge. These factors are not an all inclusive list, and the court can consider anything it finds appropriate in determining bond. The 13th Circuit Court has an Administrative Order passed by the Chief Judge of this Circuit which takes the common name as "the bond schedule". This schedule is designed as a starting point reference in setting bonds. A Grand Theft in the Third Degree is a third degree felony and on the bond schedule results in a suggested bond of $2,000 (exactly what this case ended up with apparently). Most cases start out with a probable cause arrest or a probable cause arrest warrant being executed on the defendant; this is probably the case here. However, sometimes, a prosecutor has already investigated a case, spoken to live sworn witnesses, and has filed felony charges by way of a "Direct Information", and the defendant ends up getting arrested on that formal actual charge. Most cases though, start out with merely a probable cause arrest, or an arrest on a probable cause arrest warrant, and then a case is opened up at the state attorney's office. In Florida, the State attorney can sign an Information and bring formal felony charges, if they swear they have taken live sworn testimony of witnesses; believe the witnesses' testimony as the truth; and bring the formal charges in Good Faith (that they believe as lawyers they can prove the case in a courtroom, and that justice supports bringing the charges). If your loved one's case is like most, he has only been informally charged by probable cause arrest, and the case is in "limbo" until the prosecutor's office makes a filing decision. The suggested charge by police appears to be grand theft in the third degree. During this "state attorney investigative period", a defense attorney can be a useful tool with which to recommend the State Attorney not file formal charges-if the defense attorney has reason to believe the client is not guilty of the informal charge recommended by the police, i.e. grand theft. It is almost always easier convincing a prosecutor's office not to file formal charges than it is to convince them to drop formal charges that have already been filed. Usually, a filing decision will be made by the prosecutor within 21 days of the arrest, though this isn't always the case. The arrest triggers does trigger the speedy trial clock to have started to tick though. If your loved one's case is one where the State has already "Directly filed" a formal charging document (i.e. "Information"), then the next date set usually will be an Arraignment in his assigned division. I strongly suggest finding an attorney with whom you feel comfortable to answer all his questions, including implications on future record, and what his options are from here forward. Most private attorneys will be willing to get involved in a case that is still under investigation by the prosecutor's office, "pre file stage". Usually, the public defender's office is only provisionally appointed pre Arraignment, and usually will not get actively involved in a case or in making recommendations to the prosecutor until at or after Arraignment on formal charges that have been filed. Good luck!
This answer is intended for general purposes only for the AVVO website, as a general source to help the public. This answer is NOT intended to advise on any particular case whatsoever, and it is impossible to give meaningful, intelligent, or informed advise about a case that a lawyer, like me, has absolutely no specific information or sufficient knowledge about, with which to form a case specific opinion, and about a defendant whom the lawyer, like me, has not met or learned anything concretely about. In sum, this answer does NOT propose to form any advice at all about any specific case or about any specific defendant, but rather, this answer only is designed as a general source of information for the public in general.
Typically a judge sets a bond which is money posted to ensure the accused shows up in court for their court date. What the consequences of the charges will be depends on the deal worked out by his attorney or the sentence of the judge if he goes to trial and is found guilty.
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The judge decides what amount the bond will be. A lot of factors will determine if he will serve jail time, including the facts of the offense and his prior record, if any. Probation is usually transferable within the state but that is addressed at sentencing time. This could be on his record permanently but he may be eligible to get a withhold of adjudication and then later get the charge sealed. There may also be other defenses that he should discuss with an attorney. Mr. Chalela gives good information about practicing in Tampa. Give him or myself a call as we both know the Tampa courts.