What Are Some Common Conditions of Bail?
Pretrial release is available if the terms, mostly the financial terms, guarantee the defendant’s appearance at trial and the defendant is not a danger to public safety. So, the conditions of bail don’t end after money changes hands. In fact, in many cases, the conditions of bail are just beginning. More on that below.
Pretrial release is very important for a Tampa criminal defense lawyer. Incarcerated defendants only have limited contact with their attorneys. That limited contact makes a thorough pretrial investigation almost impossible. However, a Tampa criminal defense attorney must secure pretrial release on favorable terms. If a defendant simply accepts whatever terms the bonding company offers, the defendant will most likely end up in a bond forfeiture proceeding. More on that below as well.
Types of Release
First, a quick primer on the types of pretrial release available in Hillsborough County and other parts of the Tampa Bay area.
OR (own recognizance) release is usually available if the defendant is charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor and has no criminal record. Most people don’t meet these qualifications. If they did, the arresting officer probably would’ve let them off with a warning.
That leaves cash bail and bail bonds. The sheriff usually sets a presumptive bail amount shortly after an arrest. If the defendant pays the entire amount in cash, the defendant “makes bail.” Alternatively, for about a 15 percent premium, a bail bond company issues a bond. If the defendant forfeits bail, the bonding company assumes the financial risk.
Conditions of Release
The financial conditions of release are often onerous, especially in serious felony cases. Bond amounts are usually very high in these cases. Bonding companies, and the sheriff, also include mandatory conditions, such as:
- Checking in with a supervision officer,
- Appearing at all required hearings, including procedural hearings if necessary,
- Remaining in the county,
- Working and/or attending school full time,
- Completing anger management or other classes, and
- Avoiding future run-ins with the law.
All forms of pretrial release usually include offense-specific conditions as well. An ignition interlock device in a DUI is a good example.
IIDs are basically portable Bretahlyzers which are attached to vehicle ignitions. The driver must provide a chemical sample below a certain threshold, usually .04 BAC, to start the car. Then, the driver must provide “rolling” samples while the car is in motion, or the car won’t restart.
The defendant must pay all installation, monitoring, maintenance, removal, and other costs associated with the IID.
Bond Forfeiture Proceedings
If the defendant violates a condition, the judge could immediately forfeit the defendant’s bond and issue an arrest warrant. However, a Tampa criminal defense attorney often prevents that outcome.
Especially if the defendant committed a technical violation, like leaving the county, attorneys usually talk to judges and convince them to give defendants second chances. That may be possible even if the defendant misses a procedural hearing.
If the judge revokes bail, attorneys often work with bondsmen and make fallback jail release arrangements. So, although the defendant might need to check into jail, the defendant only stays there a few hours.
Contact a Dedicated Hillsborough County Attorney
A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, contact the OA Law Firm. Virtual, home, and jail visits are available.