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Nebbia Holds

In state court, the judge at first appearance can add a condition to bond known as a "Nebbia Hold" (sometimes called the "Nebia Hold," "Nebbia requirement," or "Bail Source Hearing"). A Nebbia hold allows the court to inquire into the source of the funds used for the bond.

The problem with a Nebbia Hold is that it can delay a person being released from custody. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make sure that the Nebbia Hold does not delay a person's release.

In many of the cases, the defendant and co-signers of the bond (his friend or family member) will produce and disclose the source of bail premium and collateral prior to the defendant's release on bail. Motions to reduce the bond amount are often filed in conjunction with the motion to lift the Nebbia hold.

The legal premise for the Nebbia holds are based on the decision in U.S. v. Nebbia, 357 F.2d 303 (2d Cir.1966). In Florida, both rule and statute authorize a similar type of hearing. Section 903.046(2) authorizes the court to inquire into "the source of funds used to post bail" as well as into any other facts, to ensure the defendant's appearance in court.

Furthermore, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.130(d) requires the first appearance court to determine the issue of pretrial release pursuant to rule 3.131. Specifically, the trial court must decide "whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be...." Fla. R.Crim. P. 3.131(b)(3). Under this rule, one factor to be considered is the "source of funds" used to post bail.

During the Nebbia hearing, the defendant must show that the source of the bail premium and collateral are from a legitimate source and were not acquired through illegal activities, or from the profits of a crime such as drug trafficking, money laundering, theft or fraud.

The courts in counties throughout Florida, including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, now routinely imposing "Nebia Holds" in certain types of drug trafficking, fraud, and conspiracy cases.


How to Get the Nebbia Hold Lifted?

An experienced criminal defense attorney can quickly schedule the Nebbia Hearing. The criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm filed a Proffer and Petition to Lift the Nebbia Order. If the prosecutor stipulates to the motion and proposed order, then the Nebbia hold can sometimes be lifted in a matter of hours.

If the prosecutor refuses to stipulate, then an emergency Nebbia hearing must be scheduled with the judge for an emergency hearing.

The proffer is a written response to the Nebbia hold that outlines proof showing that the funds being used to pay the bond are from legitimate sources. In most cases, little documentation is required. In some cases, the person posting the funds might be asked to include a copy of bank records, mortgage and real estate property records, income statements, and other financial records which trace the funds being used to pay the bond.


What information is needed at the Nebbia Hearing?

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you present the necessary documents to the prosecutor and the court to lift the Nebia Hold. When this is done properly, the prosecutor might agree to stipulate to the hold being lifted without a hearing. The stipulation can then be accepted with the court's permission.

In those cases, a joint stipulation order can be filed. If the prosecutor will not agree to the stipulation, then the hearing will take place. At the hearing, the criminal defense attorney will present evidence, including documents and testimony, to show the court that the source of the funds is legitimate.

Once the Court is satisfied that the funds being used to post the bond are from legitimate sources, the Court can lift the Nebbia hold so that the Defendant can bond out of jail without any further delay.

At the Sammis Law Firm, in Tampa, FL, we can quickly help you gather the necessary documents, file the Nebbia Proffer and Notice of Hearing, and schedule the hearing as quickly as possible or secure a stipulation from the prosecutor.


What if the funds for the bond premium or collateral have been borrowed?

There is nothing wrong with borrowing the funds when the loan will be repaid with legitimate funds.


Will the Defendant's friends or family have to testify?

Probably not. If the prosecutor does not stipulate to lifting the hold based on the proffer, then the person providing the funds could be asked to testify in very limited circumstances. In most cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney, well-versed on Nebbia requirements can make this process quick and simple and avoid unnecessary delays.

The bail bondsman is often the only person to testify and simply explains how the funds will be posted and why the source of the funds are legitimate.


Why is it called a Nebbia Hearing or a "Nebia Hold"?

In United States v. Nebbia, 357 F.2d 303 (2d Cir. 1966), the court held that when a defendant posted $100,000.00 bail in cash, the trial court was permitted to ask questions about the source of the funds. The rationale behind the decision was that if the defendant had acquired the $100,000.00 through illegal activities such as trafficking drugs, fraud or theft, then the funds would create little incentive to return to court.

The Nebbia decision applies to Federal Cases, however, the Florida State Courts have interpreted Florida Statutes and the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically Section 903.046(2), and Rule 3.131(b) to authorize a court to question the source of funds used to post bail before release.

A motion for this hold can be requested by the prosecutor or arresting officer, or set by the court at first appearance court.


Tampa Lawyers to Lift the Nebia Hold in Hillsborough County, FL

If you need to discuss a "Nebia Hold" pending against an individual arrested in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, or Hernando County, then contact the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm for a free consultation at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case today.

We can help you understand the charges pending against you, and the best way to get the bond lowered and get a Nebbia Hold condition lifted without delay.


This article was last updated by on Friday, June 23, 2017.