Arrest and Bond
The consequences of a conviction in Florida can be life-changing. Even first time arrests can result in jail, prison, fines, criminal record, job loss, and deportation. The most important thing to do is get a lawyer who can start working to minimize the damage right away.
ArrestsIf you or someone you know has been arrested in Hillsborough or Pinellas County, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Many defendants will talk to the police after being arrested hoping they will get a better result if they explain. This is a common mistake. The job of a police officer is to make arrests and gather evidence against you! On some misdemeanors a police officer may provide a person with a "Notice to Appear" which will have a court date and time on it. In such instances you will be required to appear in court at that date and time. If you do not, a warrant could be issued for your arrest. A "Notice to Appear" is considered an arrest although you are not taken to jail, and the legal process begins. If a person is taken to jail, getting them out may take some time, even for a minor charge. Be patient. If the arrest just happened, the process to get him/her out can start when he/she is booked in the jail and assigned a jail number. During booking, the person is fingerprinted, photographed, and asked basic questions to establish who they are. Once the jail number is a assigned a standard bond will be set unless he is nonbondable.
Bail Bond ProcessIf the defendant is eligible for a bond, you can immediately pay the listed bond amount directly to the jail or contact a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman will post a bond on your behalf and will usually charge a 10%. You may have provide collateral for the full bond, with the collateral sometimes being cash if the defendant resides outside the jurisdiction. Alternatively, the defendant could go in front of a judge. Every arrestee is entitled to a probable cause hearing within 24/48 hours of arrest. At this hearing, the judge will review the arrest affidavit. The bond can possibly lowered at this hearing or the defendant can be allowed out without a monetary deposit (pretrial release or ROR). The defendant is entitled to counsel at this hearing and a prosecutor will be present. A person may not get bond right away if: The charge is considered so serious that it does not qualify for bond. The defendant was on felony probation at the time of arrest. The person has an immigration hold. There is an out-of-state/county fugitive warrant. If the defendant has no bond, a bond hearing will be set to determine if there will be a bond, and what the bond may be. A court may deny bond if it finds that the defendant will harm himself or others; the defendant may be a flight risk; or bond money may have come from criminal actions.