Dade City Criminal Defense Attorneys are constantly being asked this by their client during their initial
arrest or prior to turning themselves on a warrant to the county jail. In short, yes, individuals in the State
of Florida enjoy, unlike many other states, a constitutional right to bond except in two unique situations. We will discuss the situations later in this blog article. In Florida, under Article I, Section 14 of the Florida Constitution, individuals are constitutionally entitled to a reasonable bond as part of their pre-trial release. This is significant because many states simply don’t offer these protections. Given that it’s a constitutional right, courts obviously take this to the utmost concern and do everything they can to comply with this constitutional safeguard. In many situations, this is not an issue as county jails are nearly constantly over-populated; judges and sheriffs are very interested in getting folks out of their county jail onto some sort of pretrial release.
As with anything, there are exceptions. In Florida, the Florida Constitution has carved out two exceptions. The first exception relates to individuals ‘charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident and presumption is great.’ Obviously, this factor concerns individuals who are charged with very, very serious offenses, where they face life and/or the death penalty for their offense. The portion relating to the proof of guilt is evident and the presumption is great is concerned with individuals who likely are going to be unable to contest the criminal charges against them and will more than likely be found guilty because the Florida legislature assumed these folks may have nothing to lose by attempting to flee law enforcement and prosecution. Obviously, the writers of the Florida Constitution were concerned that these folks facing life in prison or the death penalty would flee without hesitation if given the opportunity.
Secondly, the Florida Constitution carved out an exception for folks to not receive a bond ‘if no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained.’ This second factor relates to individuals who may be incredibly dangerous, the court is permitted to hold those folks if they are unable to determine some conditions of pre-trial release that will keep the public safe from these individuals. This is often an issue with people who have major mental health issues or folks associated with terrorism. Obviously, if an individual is willing to conduct some sort of terrorist act towards the public, it’s hard to imagine them following any sort of conditions of pre-trial release that would protect the community from physical harm. This also relates to requiring the court to consider the accused appearing at future court dates. This is a major point of contention for many Tampa folks accused of crimes. Elsewhere on our Dade City Criminal Defense Attorney blog, we discuss how different counties in the Tampa Bay area file failure to appear charges differently. In Hillsborough County, the State Attorney’s office rarely files these charges. While in Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties, the State Attorney’s office routinely charges these crimes. In short, regardless of whether you are charged with a failure to appear or your bond is simply revoked for failure to appear, this is where this can ultimately end up significantly harming your ability to get bond and a lower bond. If you have a history of failing to appear for court, regardless if you have been charged with the felony charge of failing to appear, the court can legally detain you pending your trial if they can’t assure that you are actually going to appear for all your court dates.
Lastly, if the court cannot ‘assure the integrity of the judicial process’ the court can refuse to release someone on pre-trial release. This factor relates to situations where an individual may be threatening victims and/or attempting to destroy evidence if they are released. Many Tampa Bay area judges don’t rely on this provision when trying to hold someone on pre-trial release because there are many other potential remedies to these issues such as no contact with the victims, preventing someone from having access to their computer if it has been seized by law enforcement, etc.
If you have questions about getting a bond or what your bond will be, contact the Dade City Criminal Defense Attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have handled thousands of cases throughout the Tampa Bay area, including the Sixth Judicial Circuits, which includes Pasco and Pinellas counties. We will sit down with you and determine aggressive strategy to get you of jail on bond and defend your rights throughout the entire criminal defense matter. If you would like to contact one of our Dade City Criminal Defense Attorneys immediately, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper right-hand corner of our website. If you would like contact going up to our chat box, the option is available in the lower right-hand corner of our website. We appreciate you taking the time to check out our Dade City Criminal Defense Attorney blog and look forward to working with you in the future.