Bond in Florida: You Have a Constitutional Right

Florida’s constitution is clear: the right to bond (pre-trial release) is a right, not a privilege. Our constitution says that pre-trial release (bail) cannot be denied by a judge unless he makes a finding that there are no conditions (restrictions) that can assure your appearance in court, or can assure the safety of the community. Written in the constitution, but treated lightly by the legislature and most judges. How so? Go to Florida statute 903.0471, your legislature said a judge can deny you bond if you have a new arrest while out on another charge. South Florida criminal defense lawyers, yours truly among them, have been reminding judges that bond is a right that can only be taken away if the judge makes a finding that the arrestee is a danger of flight or danger to the community. The legislature and most criminal judges in Florida avoid dealing with the constitution in a rush to judgment. It may appeal to common sense that if you are arrested once and then a second time, you may be a habitual or repeat offender. But being a repeat offender is not a constitutional basis for denying bond. I have been fighting in court, just again last week, to overturn the law that denies bond to re-offenders. Constitutional rights exist, they are there to preempt passions and imagined fears and should not be taken away easily. Contact a Florida criminal lawyer to know your rights to bail.