TO BAIL OR NOT TO BAIL, THAT IS THE QUESTION.
The Florida Constitution (Article I, Section 14) gives a criminal defendant the right to be released from custody pending the outcome of his or her criminal case. At the bond hearing, the presiding judge must consider a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the factors that are set forth in Rule 3.131(b)(3). Rule 3.131(b)(3) states:
In determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be, the court may consider:
- the nature and circumstances of the offense charged and the penalty provided by law;
- the weight of the evidence against the defendant;
- the defendant’s family ties,
- length of residence in the community,
- employment history,
- financial resources,
- need for substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment, and mental condition;
- the defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings;
- the nature and probability of danger that the defendant’s release poses to the community;
- the source of funds used to post bail; whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or is on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of sentence;
- and any other facts the court considers relevant.
SHOULD I BAIL MYSELF OUT OR HIRE A PRIVATE ATTORNEY?
If you can afford bail AND a lawyer, bond yourself out. However, if you are like the more than 70% of Americans that have less than $1,000 dollars in savings, this question is often the first question many people ask when they are dealing with unanticipated legal expenses. As a general proposition, if you can afford bail or a criminal lawyer, you should spend money on your attorney or have family and friends raise the money to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. Here is why:
PUBLIC DEFENDERS CARRY A LARGE CASELOAD
Many lawyers start their careers in public service and they represent their clients well. However, the fact remains that they have large caseloads and simply do not have the time to dedicate to your case like privately retained counsel. When you combine that with the fact that Attorney Adam Pollack is a Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyer, the choice is very clear to get your defense team working on the case immediately.
A SKILLED DEFENSE TEAM CAN FILE MOTIONS TO REDUCE YOUR BOND
As we listed above, there are many factors that go into setting the amount of bond. The initial bond is set with very little input by the Defendant and certainly not a skilled criminal defense attorney. Your team will work hard to get to know you as a person and make a strong argument to the court that you should be out on bail helping the defense team and that you are not a risk for non-appearance.
A LAWYER CAN SAVE YOU MONEY ON B
A little known secret in the criminal defense legal industry is that a lawyer can save you a lot of money on bail. The standard bail bonds contract is for 10% of the amount of bail. (i.e. if Bail is $100,000 – you pay a bondsman $10,000). Most bail bonds agents will offer a discount for a “lawyer referral.” If a lawyer calls the bail bonds agent for you, they frequently get a referral discount for their clients. Instead of paying 10% on a bond, an attorney referral will pay 7% to 8% of the bond. (i.e. if Bail is $100,000, you pay $7,000-$8,000) That’s a 20-30% discount!
MORE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A LAWYER BEFORE PAYING BAIL
When you hire a private criminal defense attorney, you are paying for many advantages in the criminal process. First, you get a degree of personalized service that a public defender’s office simply cannot match. You have the confidence that your lawyer is concerned about your case, and not their calendar or the 70 other cases on their plate. Hiring a lawyer is a signal to the district attorney’s office that you are willing to fight your charges every step of the way, and with every resource you have.
Many people know a lawyer, but they do not know a criminal lawyer. Criminal lawyers are familiar with the intricacies of the justice system in a way that other lawyers simply are not. In many cases a private criminal defense lawyer has worked with a judge or prosecutor before, and understands their preferences, tendencies and temperament for certain types of argument or strategy. Attorney Adam Pollack is a Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyer and has the skills to handle your case.
Call our law office today at (407) 834-5297 for a FREE consultation.