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Pre-trial Release

After being arrested, we know that your first priority is being released from jail so that you can return to your family and job. In some cases, the court will sent the bond so high that you cannot afford to post the bond. In other cases, the court might impose harsh conditions for pre-trial release that make it nearly impossible to keep your job and go about your life while the case is pending. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you gain your release for the most favorable conditions possible.

If you are accused of violating the conditions of pre-trial release (particularly for a new arrest), then the prosecutor will file a motion to revoke pre-trial release so that you will be held without bond on the old case until its final disposition. In other words, if you are arrested in a second case, the trial court may revoke bail in the first case based solely on a probable cause affidavit prepared in the second case for an arrest warrant or a probable cause determination at first appearance.

Revocation can occur without an adversary hearing if the prosecutor proffers the kind of evidence required to support an arrest warrant or probable cause determination at first appearances which might include an affidavit of a police officer, a sworn complaint, sworn deposition testimony, or other testimony under oath properly recorded.

By having an attorney at the first appearance before the court after the arrest, the attorney can argue all of the reason that a very low bond should be set. That way, you can spend your limited resources on a criminal defense attorney who can aggressively fight your case. 

Your attorney can also try and prevent the court from piling on unnecessary restrictions (known as conditions of pre-trial release) that might impact your ability to travel to see your family or work while the case is pending.


Motion to Revoke Pretrial Release in Tampa, FL

What happens if you are out on bond for a criminal charge and while the case is pending you get arrested for a new offense? If you immediately bond out of jail, the courts might not even know about the pending case in time to do anything about it. The next day (or sometimes weeks later) when the prosecutor finds out about the new arrest, the prosecution might file a motion to revoke pretrial release (sometimes called the motion to revoke bond). 

Condition (1)(a) of bond under Florida Statutes 903.047 requires a person released on bond to refrain from criminal activity of any kind. The prosecutor will argue that the arrest for the new offense has demonstrated the defendant’s inability to conduct himself or herself in accordance with Florida Statute 903.047(1)(a) which requires refraining from any criminal activity of any kind. 

Florida Statute Section 903.0471, which became effective on June 2, 2000, provides:

Violation of condition of pretrial release

Notwithstanding s. 907.041, a court may, on its own motion, revoke pretrial release and order pretrial detention if the court finds probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release.

The statute was designed to assure the integrity of the judicial process. The State Attorney's Office has argued that the statute is essential to the integrity of the judicial process that the court's orders, especially including a bond condition, be obeyed and enforced. The prosecution will also argue that detention is necessary to protect the community from risk of physical harm.

The prosecutor will allege that “probable cause” exists that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release by attaching a copy of the criminal report affidavit or the citation for a criminal traffic offense to the motion. The prosecutor will ask the court to revoke the defendant’s pretrial release so that the defendant can be held on the older case without bond under Fla. Stat. 903.0471. The prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office will often refer to the following cases: 

  • State v. Parker, 843 So. 2d 871 (Fla. 2003)(allows the State to move to revoke bond pursuant to 903.0471); and
  • Perry v. State, 842 So. 2d 301 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003)(there is no requirement of an adversarial hearing to revoke a defendant’s pretrial release). 

During the hearing on the motion to revoke bond or the defendant’s pretrial release, the prosecution will argue that good cause has been shown and that it is in the interest of justice for the trial court to revoke the Defendant’s pretrial release in the case pursuant to 903.0741, Florida Statute, and order pretrial detention until the disposition of the case.

Criminal defense attorneys have argued that by failing to require specific findings, the statute violates the provision of the Florida Constitution authorizing denial of bail if no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of accused at trial, or assure the integrity of judicial process. Other objections have been raised that argue that the absence of a requirement of an adversarial hearing, the statute allowing revocation of pretrial release violates procedural due process. It has also been argued that the statute violates substantive due process by placing too low a burden of proof upon which to base pretrial detention. 

If the judge grants the motion, then the court might remand the defendant into custody without bond. The defense attorney can then file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

The trial court is not generally allowed to order Trial court improperly ordered pretrial detention without bond for failure to appear without finding that failure to appear was willful and that no conditions of release could reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process.


Reasonable Bail and Pre-trial Release Conditions in Hillsborough County, FL

Under Florida law, anyone charged with a crime generally has a right to bail, unless the charges are for a capital crime or a violation of probation. The judge has wide discretion to set the amount of bond that must be posted and the pre-trial release conditions.

If you are out on bond or pretrial release for first crime, and then you are arrested for a new crime, the court may revoke the pretrial release for first crime, and may refuse any further pretrial release in first crime.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can represent you at this stage of the case. We can also save our clients money, time and frustration. We can show the judge the reasons why you are not a flight risk and the reason that burdensome pre-trial release conditions are not needed.

Call an attorney at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, to discuss your case and to schedule a free initial consultation.


This article was last updated on Thursday, December 7, 2016.