What Is A Bond Hearing?

A bond hearing is set within a certain amount of time after a defendant’s arrest.  In Florida, for example, a defendant is entitled to a bond hearing within 24 hours after being arrested, resulting in daily bond hearings for 365 days each year.  Depending upon the number of individuals arrested, a city the size of Jacksonville can often have two bond hearing dockets (e.g., morning and afternoon) on any given day.

Generally, the bond amount is established once the arrest occurs.  In order to maintain uniformity, these amounts are established according to a statewide “bond schedule” that is utilized by the 20 judicial circuits of the State of Florida.  Certain individuals may have to wait for a bond hearing. If the defendant allegedly committed a crime for which no bond will be set, he will appear before a criminal court to determine a) if there will be a bond, and b) what the bond may be if a bond is issued. A court may deny bond if it considers, among other factors, 1) that a defendant will harm himself or others, or 2) if the court considers the defendant to be a flight risk from that jurisdiction.

All of the defendants who have been arrested and have not had their bond hearing appear before a judge either in person or electronically via closed circuit television.  The judge announces the charges and makes the judicial determination of the bond amount.  Individuals who are accused of particularly violent and/or dangerous crimes are typically denied bond.  In addition, if an individual is charged with a new offense while on probation, this will result in a violation of probation.  The end result is that this violation results in a “no bond” classification for that individual, which then results in that person having to “wait it out in jail” until their court date arrives on the calendar.

If the court suspects that bond money may have come from criminal actions, the court may either deny bond or require the defendant to show proof that the bond money was not obtained in the commission of a crime, which is referred to as a Nebbia hearing.   If the defendant is unable to substantiate this information to the Judge’s satisfaction, the court may then deny bond in order to prevent the defendant from utilizing those funds for bond purposes.

If the court considers the defendant to be a flight risk from that particular jurisdiction, the court will deny bond.  For instance, this could come about if the defendant has already attempted  to leave the country after the alleged commission of the crime.  It could also happen if an excessive amount of money was obtained during the commission of the crime.  At the bond hearing, the judge may deny bail on the grounds that the defendant may use the money to flee the country in order to avoid prosecution.  In cases with this circumstance, the court will then order the defendant to surrender his or her passport.