If you've been arrested for a crime, you may not have to wait in jail until your court date to be released from jail. Depending on the severity of your crime, you may be able to be released on bond, or the magistrate may release you on your own recognizance. There are, however, rules to pretrial release, and if you break them, you could find yourself back in jail, waiting to speak to a judge or magistrate. If you've been arrested, released, or are in custody, you need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Without professional guidance from a defense attorney, you could make mistakes that can damage your case or garner you additional jail time.
How Pretrial Release Works in Florida
For most crimes, you are entitled to petition for pretrial release at your first appearance. Exceptions include capital or life felonies where the evidence of guilt is considered substantial. Unless the state files a motion for pretrial detention, you have the right to a bond hearing. You may be released under the following circumstances:
- Released on own recognizance
- Bond determined by the judge
- Transfer of custody of the accused to a designated person or organization
- Miscellaneous conditions, including partial custody during certain hours
In addition to the terms of release, you may have to meet other requirements. These are some of the more common conditions of release:
- Appear in court
- Refrain from contact with the victim(s)
- Refrain from all criminal activity
- Not go to the victim's residence or communicate with the victim's family members
- The judge may add other conditions of probation that they believe will ensure that the defendant appears at trial or to protect other involved parties
Violating Conditions of Release
By posting bond and accepting your release, you're assuring the courts that you will appear on your court date and you will conduct yourself legally while out on bond. In other words, the courts expect you to comply with the conditions of your release or answer to the judge. If you violate your conditions, it will be up to the judge whether they will revoke your bond, modify your bond amount, or increase your restrictions. If your violation comes from being arrested for a new crime, you will also have to contend with the new charges. You may not be able to be released on your new charge until there's a resolution on your old case. If you believe that you have violated any conditions of your release or you are aware that there is a bench warrant for your arrest, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. A defense lawyer can contact the courts and arrange for your surrender if that's what's required. Florida criminal judges are much more likely to show leniency to cooperative defendants than those who run from justice or try to evade arrest.
Frequently Asked Questions About Violations of Conditions of Release
The following information should not be construed as legal advice. If you believe that you are in violation of the terms of your release, you need to speak to a Florida criminal defense lawyer immediately.
What Happens if You Violate Pretrial Release in Florida?
In most cases, the judge will issue a bench warrant bringing you before the court. That does not necessarily mean that your bond will be revoked, but you could be forced to return to jail pending the outcome of your case. If the violation is minor, the court may increase your bond or add conditions to your release.
What is Pretrial Release in Florida?
When you're arrested for a crime, you have the right to first appearance within 24 hours. The judge or magistrate will read the probable cause affidavit and determine whether or not there is probable cause for your arrest. This is not a trial and the police usually have enough probable cause to satisfy the court. This is also where the court will determine whether you are eligible for bond and the amount. If you are eligible, you can be released on your own recognizance until your trial.
What Does Condition of Release Mean?
When you're released from jail pending trial, you're not done with the criminal justice process. You are expected to not get into any trouble and to show up at your appearances. If the court places you on community control, you might have to check in with an officer of the court routinely. If you violate the terms of your release, your bond may be revoked.
What Happens When Your Bond is Revoked in Florida?
If you violate the terms of your release, the judge may revoke your bond. If this happens, they will issue a bench warrant. You will either have to turn yourself in or run the risk of being arrest at your home or in a random location. Any law enforcement officer that runs your name will be able to find out that you have a warrant, so it's usually in your best interest to talk to a lawyer and arrange your surrender.
Florida Criminal Defense and Pretrial Release Lawyers
If you've been arrested for a crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Just because you've made bail doesn't mean that the battle is over. There are many ways to inadvertently violate your conditions of release and you still have to face trial. For years, the criminal defense lawyers at Weinstein Legal has been representing individuals in the areas of South Florida, Central Florida, and the Treasure Coast. Our attorneys can provide you guidance while you're awaiting trial. If you do violate the conditions of your release, attorney Matt Shafran can appeal to the courts for leniency. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.