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Bail Bond FAQs

What Happens When Someone Is Arrested In Florida?

In Florida, after a person is booked into a jail, there may be a bond set by a judge on the arresting papers (called a capias, or warrant). If so, that person is eligible to be released from jail. If someone is arrested without a bond, he or she will probably have to stay in jail overnight and be taken the next day to a hearing called "first appearance," where the judge will: (1) release the person on his or her promise to appear at all subsequent court appearances (called signature release, or recognizance release), (2) set a cash or surety bond, or (3) hold a person in jail with no bond, meaning with no opportunity for release.

Options include:
  • To stay in jail, awaiting disposition of the case;
  • To stay in jail and wait for a bond reduction hearing, if the bond is larger than one can or will pay. This hearing is usually set by an attorney;
  • To put up the full amount of the bond in cash (all or most will be returned when the case is over);
  • To call a bondsman (also called a “surety agent”), who will charge 10% of the face amount of the bond. This is a nonrefundable fee, and it is rarely returned. (Note: The 10% is mandated by Florida state law; a bondsman may charge no less or no more. Note that some bondsmen will occasionally allow one to make payments toward that 10% of the court-defined bond.)
When a bondsman writes a bond, he is promising the courts that he ensures the defendant's presence at every required court appearance. If the defendant misses an appearance, the bondsman will attempt to locate the defendant and return him or her to jail. If the bond agent is unable to locate the missing defendant after 60 days, he will have to give the clerk the full amount of the bond.
A person cannot be returned to jail for not paying the bondsman all the money due on the bond. The bondsman can, however, sue a person in civil court for the amount owed, plus costs. People can have bonds revoked if they are arrested again after posting a bond if they are untruthful on their bond application, change their address(es) without letting the bondsman know in advance, give the bondsman reason to believe they will not go to court or depart the jurisdiction of the court without written permission of the court and the bondsman.
A Florida bail bondsman will put up the full amount of the bond with the court, and in return, is paid a 10% (nonrefundable) fee for doing so. The bondsman then ensures the court that the defendant will be at every court hearing until the case is over. If the defendant misses court, the bondman then has the power to apprehend and return him or her to jail. After the jail takes a bail bond from a bail agent, the person in jail will be booked out and released. This process can take anywhere form 30 minutes to 8 hours or more, depending on the county. Generally the larger the county, the longer the wait.
Bail is the monetary amount set by a judge. A bond is what the bail bondsman puts up with the court to secure the release of the arrested person. A bondsman puts up the full amount of a person’s bail (the amount set by the judge) with the court for a 10% fee. In Florida, the 10% fee is regulated by the State Insurance Commissioner. Bonds are issued for drug crimes, immigration, DUIs, parole violation, disorderly conduct, failure to appear, probation violation, larceny, domestic violence, drug trafficking, and more alleged crimes.
To find out an arrested person’s bond amount, you can call the jail they are in (ask for booking), or you can see if the jail has an inmate lookup page on its web site. Vinelink is also a good place to check.
Cash bail is the amount of money needed to secure the release of an arrested person. This amount can paid in cash or in the form of a bond posted by a bail bondsman in Florida.
It depends on the bail amount set by the judge. In Florida, bail agents charge a 10% fee, and that is almost always nonrefundable. Note that although the state requires that bail agents charge no more and no less than the 10% fee, a bail agent will often extend some credit and will allow payment plans to be set up.
If you post the full amount of the bail with the court (that is, if you provide cash as collateral without using a bail bondsman), you usually get most of that money back when the court case has concluded. (The court will sometimes keep a portion of that fee for court costs.) If you give a bond agent a fee and are released from jail, you rarely get any of that 10 percent fee back.
Much of the paperwork can be done over the phone by utilizing fax and email. While it is against Florida law for a bail agent to conduct business at a county jail, many agents are willing to meet with signers elsewhere.
When a person posts a bond in full with cash, most of this money is returned to the depositor when the case is over. If a person pays a bail agent for posting a bail bond, however, this money is the agent’s fee and is not returned.
A bail bond can be posted in most Florida counties seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
The bail bond company makes money by collecting a 10 percent fee for posting a bond, and it tries to not lose money by writing bonds on people who flee.
A cash bond can be paid by anyone at the jail. A bail bond must be posted by a licensed bail agent.
A secured bail bond is one where the bail agent takes something for collateral from a family member or friend (or sometimes from the person in jail). Most bail agents, to indemnify themselves from any loses, will require co-signers on most of the bonds the execute, and often will take car titles or a mortgages on real property. Remember that if the person who is out on bond does not appear in court at appointed times, or “skips,” the bondsman has to pay the court the full amount of the bail. With larger bonds, it is in the bondsman’s best interest to have collateral from the signer.
You can call the jail booking number or call the clerk of court and ask them.
A person licensed by the state of Florida to post bail bonds in the State of Florida.
If you put up the full amount of the bail with the court, you will get back all or part of that money when the case is over. If you pay a bail agent to post a bond, you will not get that money back.
Because a judge has determined that there needs to be a monetary amount pledged to the court to guarantee that arrested person’s appearance at future court appearances. Some of the things a judge may consider include the arrested person’s ties to the community, criminal history, severity of new crime and past failures to appear.
A person on probation is probably not forbidden from hiring a bail agent to bond a friend out of jail. Check with your probation officer first.
The money is the fee you’ve paid to get the person out of jail. Once that person walks out of the jail, the money belongs to the bail agent.
If you signed to get someone out of jail and you no longer want to be on that person’s bond, you need to tell the bondsman you want the person returned to jail. When the person is back in jail, then you are relieved of any financial liability.
No, but that person can be sued, and if that co-signer has committed property as collateral, the bondsman can make a legal claim on that property.
If you signed to guarantee payments, the answer is yes. Any collateral you put up with the bondman to guarantee your son’s appearance is not jeopardized by a new arrest.
Under some circumstances, defaulting on payments can affect the FICO score.
The full amount of the bond, no. Any part of the 10% fee still owed, yes.
The bail agent rarely knows his client, so the agent often asks for someone who knows the client to co-sign on a bond, much as a bank would ask for a co-signer on a loan.
No. The state of Florida has established conditions upon which a bondsman can return someone to jail. Non-payment of the fee is not one of them.
If you put up collateral or signed on someone’s bail bond, you can call the bail agent and let them know you no longer want to be on that bond. Only when the person is returned to jail, however, are you relieved of any obligation. If a bond has been formally revoked by the judge, you can call the jail to see if there is a new (probably higher) bond set. If the bond was revoked by the bail agent, you can call a different bail agent to see if they will get the person out.