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Can The Court Change Your Bail? Miami Criminal Defense Attorneys Explain.

June 01, 2018

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As Miami criminal defense attorneys , we often get questions about bond increases, bail changes, and speak with the courts to help defendants deal with major changes to their cases. We recently read about a major change in bond in a local case.

Several weeks ago, four men were charged with attacking a gay couple on Miami Beach during the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride parade. After their arrest, the four individuals appeared at their initial bond appearance. They were each charged with aggravated battery. The defendants were all granted release so long as they could each post a $15,000 bond.

What Are the Defendants Options?

At that point, the defendants had two choices. First, each could have paid the clerk the amount of the bond, or $15,000, which would have been returned at the conclusion of the case. The more popular route is to hire a bail bondsman to post the bond. In a normal situation, that would require a defendant to pay the bondsman $1,500 or 10% of the bond amount.

Nebbia Requirements: Bail Money Must Be Obtained Legally

Some cases require the defendant to prove how the money was obtained, which is called a Nebbia" requirement. "Nebbia" requirements are most commonly seen in drug trafficking, theft, and fraud cases. Meeting the "Nebbia" requirements can be difficult. It is important to hire an experienced Miami criminal lawyer to guide a defendant through the process. A experienced attorney will know how prove the bond premium or the 10% came from legitimate funds. Additionally, the lawyer must know how to prove to the State that the collateral on the bond comes from legitimate sources. The collateral on the bond is usually obtained through the use of real estate properties. The properties must be unencumbered enough to cover the collateral.

Can a Defendant Be Held Without Bail in the State of Florida?

All jurisdictions in Florida have standard bonds for criminal offenses. While the bond amounts vary from county to county, everyone arrested is entitled to a bond, with one exception. Anyone arrested for a first degree felony, which is punishable up to life in prison, a life felony, or a capital offense, can be held without a bond. Although a defendant may be initially held without a bond by the first appearance judge, a defendant, usually with the assistance of an attorney, can petition the presiding judge for an Arthur hearing. In an Arthur Hearing, the State must meet its burden of proof for a defendant to be held without a bond. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, or what is commonly referred to as "proof evident/presumption great", that the defendant committed the offense. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant is a risk of flight or a danger to the community.

If the State can meet this burden, a defendant may be held without bail.

Someone Arrested With Bond
Can Florida Increase a Bond?

Although a defendant can initially post a bond, the State can always seek a bond increase along with other modified conditions of bail from the presiding judge. These may be significantly greater than what was imposed by the bond hearing judge. Prior to seeking an increase in bond, the State must provide notice to the Defendant and his/her defense lawyer.

How Does the State of Florida Increase a Bond?

To successfully petition the court for an increased bond or increased conditions of release, the State must prove that there has been a change in circumstances in a defendant's case that warrant a bond increase or a modification of the conditions of release. The most common change in circumstance is when the State files an elevated charge from that which the defendant(s) were originally arrested. The second most common change in circumstances applies when a defendant is declared a habitual offender by the state.

A Local Miami Case Exemplifies Bond Increases

The four men charged were originally arrested for a standard aggravated battery. After conducting their investigation, the State apparently thought there was enough evidence to prove that a hate crime was committed. The State charged the elevated offense of aggravate battery with prejudice which increases the crime from a second to a first degree felony. As the penalties are now greater for a first degree felony, the State asked for an increased bond, which was granted by the judge. As a result, the defendants had to be re-booked and posted a new $75,000 bond. The judge also modified the conditions of release by adding the requirement that the defendants wear electronic monitors.

Miami Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help

While some bail matters may be at times simple, others a quite complicated. The Miami criminal defense attorneys as DMT have handled hundreds of bail issues and can guide any defendant through the process. Of course, obtaining a bond is an integral part of the case, it is only the first step in the process. Contact Donet, McMillan & Trontz at (305) 444-0030 for help with your case today.

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Categories: Bond Hearings
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