Bond Court Procedures
Bond Court, also known as First Appearance Court or Magistrate Court, is an arrestee’s first opportunity to be seen in front of a judge. By Florida Statute, a person must be brought in front of a judge within 24 hours of arrest to determine (1) whether there is probable cause to hold a person on the charge and (2) what bond, if any, should be set. These bond hearings are not full trials, and the judges move very quickly. Without adequate representation, a judge may set a bond that you are unable to afford. If you or someone you know has been arrested, Mr. Glassman can appear in court at the bond hearing and advocate for release or that a lower bond be set based on the particular facts of circumstances of the alleged offense.
The determination of probable cause is usually based solely on an affidavit prepared by the arresting officer and presented to the court. Judges determine that there is probable cause in the vast majority of cases, as probable cause is a very low standard of proof. If the judge needs more information to determine whether there is probable cause, the State Attorney is allowed up to 72 hours to provide that additional information to the judge, otherwise the arrestee will be released from custody on their own recognizance (i.e. without having to post a bond). Mr. Glassman can review the probable cause affidavit at your bond hearing and will be able to argue for your release if there are any defects in the paperwork.
After making a probable cause determination, the judge will then set a bond amount for each charged offense. The sitting judge has broad discretion to determine what an appropriate bond is, but is guided by a bond schedule that has been prepared by the chief judge in your county (see relevant links below). The judge can (1) release the defendant on recognizance, which is release without posting a bond, (2) release the defendant on pre-trial release, which is release without posting a bond but with monitoring conditions such as electronic or GPS monitoring, (3) set a monetary bond, or (4) hold the defendant in custody no bond. In setting bond, the judge will take into account the following factors: the defendant’s criminal history, the nature and circumstances of the offense, the danger to the community, the availability of funds, the defendant’s ties to the community. Certain major crimes and warrants carry a no bond hold. In these cases, the bond can only be addressed in front of the division judge that will be handling the case. Before the bond hearing, Mr. Glassman can gather information about you and your circumstances and can then present this information to the judge to argue for release without posting a bond or for the lowest bond possible.
- Florida Statute 903.046 – Statutory Factors for Determination of Bond
- Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.130, 3.131, 3.132 – First Appearance, Pre-Trial Release & Detention (opens as pdf)
- Sun Sentinel Broward County Bond Court Live Stream
- Broward County Bond Court Rules (opens as pdf)
- Broward County Bond Schedule (opens as pdf)
- Palm Beach County Bond Court Rules (opens as pdf)
- Palm Beach County Bond Schedule (opens as pdf)
Recent Appellate Cases
- Norton-Nugin v. State, 179 So.3d 557 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) – $150,000 bond on four counts of aggravated child abuse was punitive and an abuse of discretion.
- Preston v. Gee, 133 So.3d 1218 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014) – An accused charged with a capital offense or one punishable by life imprisonment nevertheless is entitled to have the question of his or her pretrial release or detention determined under rules 3.131 and 3.132 absent an adequate showing by the State under Arthur that the proof of guilt is evident and the presumption great.
- Mendoza v. Cross, 143 So.3d 1155 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) – A defendant may not be held without bond (i.e., pretrial detention) upon the sole finding that the defendant violated a condition of pretrial release by willfully failing to appear. Rather the trial court must make the additional finding that no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons or assure the presence of the defendant at trial.
- Man Accused of Killing Mom Appears in Court, Sun Sentinel