Pretrial Release in Florida
- What is pretrial release? The term can be used in several contexts. First, the term is used to describe a form of non-monetary release in Florida. Secondly, the term can be used to simply refer to release prior to trial.
- Types of Release in Florida:
- Bond: Bond simply means that you must pay a monetary amount in order to get out of jail. You can either pay a bail bondsman 10% of your bond or you can pay the entire bond yourself (all 100%). There are advantages to both. With regard to paying a bond agent, you lose your 10% that you pay the bond agent (that 10% is how the bondsman makes his money). But the advantage here is that you don’t have to come up with the full cash amount. In exchange for that 10% the bond agent fronts the entire amount for you. In some instances, bond can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Getting that sort of money is often difficult and a scary proposition in terms of the financial strain it puts on you. However, if you have the money to pay the entire bond, it is likely in your best interest because you actually receive your money back at the end of the process.
- Pretrial Release (PTR): Pretrial release is a non-monetary form of bond in Florida. In other words, the jail releases you for FREE. The catch is that there are various reporting requirements and you will have to meet with pretrial services until your case is complete. Some judges will give people an option: e.g. $500 bond or PTR. If you have to face this decision ask yourself this question: would you rather drive to appointments once or twice a month and check in with pretrial release services until your case is complete, or would you rather pay $100 to a bond agent and forget about it? Many prefer just to pay the bond and be out. However, some judges will require BOTH. For example, the judge may say “$500 bond plus PTR.” In that case you will have to satisfy both.
- ROR: ROR refers to release on your own recognizance. In other words, you get out of jail for FREE an you don’t have to report to anyone, such as pretrial release services. This is the most desirable form of release, but often the rarest to be given.
- Other conditions: The judge may impose any pretrial release conditions he thinks are appropriate. For example, the judge can impose a curfew, or random drug screening, etc.