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Tampa Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal Defense > Nuts and Bolts of Jail Release in Hillsborough County

Nuts and Bolts of Jail Release in Hillsborough County


The number of unsentenced jail inmates has been in the news recently. Florida has one of the highest percentages of unsentenced inmates in the country. A significant number of Hillsborough County jail inmates haven’t been convicted of a crime. Instead, they’re either unable to afford bail or waiting for their extensive bail paperwork to go through.

A Tampa criminal defense attorney helps ensure that unsentenced inmates get out of jail before trial, and they get out of jail quickly. Attorneys use all three available jail release options, not just one or two of them. Additionally, attorneys usually work closely with bonding companies to expedite the paperwork. In fact, in many cases, if defendants have lawyers, they don’t get past the holding area before the sheriff frees them.

Initial Release

To address the aforementioned unsentenced inmate problem, a few jurisdictions have tried, and failed, to completely overhaul their jail release systems. Florida hasn’t gone down this path. But, lawmakers have tweaked the system, as follows:

  • OR Release: Own Recognizance release is usually available if the defendant has never been in trouble before, including a prior arrest, and currently faces nonviolent criminal charges. Since these qualifications are subjective, attorneys advocate for defendants. For example, stalking could be a violent or nonviolent crime, depending on your perspective.
  • Bail Bond: Once upon a time, the bail bond release process required several hours, at the minimum. Now, a Tampa criminal defense lawyer can expedite this process down to a few minutes, at least in many cases. Most bonding companies charge about a 10 or 15 percent premium to write a bail bond.
  • Cash Bail: If the defendant posts the entire amount, the sheriff releases the defendant before trial. Cash bail was once just that. Cash on the barrelhead or nothing. Now, an attorney might convince the sheriff to accept a property lien or other non cash form of payment.

Sometimes, especially in misdemeanors, a Tampa criminal defense lawyer can handle the entire process, via an attorney bond. These bonds are usually available if the defendant has hired the lawyer for representation purposes.

Subsequent Matters

Bond forfeiture and conditions modifications are the two most common post-bond matters in Hillsborough County.

Defendants must usually comply with a number of conditions, such as appearing at all required court dates and checking in with a supervision officer. A violation of any condition could mean bond forfeiture and the issuance of a bench warrant.

Attorneys usually convince judges to give defendants second changes in these situations, especially if a lawyer acts quickly enough.

These onerous conditions are subject to modification as well. Frequently, prosecutors agree to modify conditions after about three incident-free months. These defendants have demonstrated that they will remain for trial, which is the purpose of a bail bond.

 Count on a Dependable Hillsborough County Attorney

A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, contact the OA Law Firm. We routinely handle matters throughout the Sunshine State.



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