A police officer has the authority under the law to arrest an individual based on mere accusations. Thankfully, a judge serves as a check on the police to determine whether the police had probable cause to arrest the individual!
What is Probable Cause?
In order for a police officer to lawfully arrest someone, the police officer needs to have probable cause. What is probable cause? For there to be probable cause, there needs to be facts and circumstances within the arresting officer’s knowledge to warrant a reasonable person to believe that an offense has been committed by the person to be arrested.
What Happens at First Appearance Bond Hearings in Florida
After a person is arrested, the person is transported to the jail and should see a magistrate judge within 24 hours. At this first appearance bond hearing in Florida, the magistrate judge will determine if the officer had probable cause to arrest the person. If the officer did not have probable cause, then the judge will order the jail to release this person immediately. If the judge believes there is probable cause, then the judge will have to decide what amount of bond is appropriate. If the judge determines that bond is appropriate the judge will consider the facts and circumstances in the probable cause affidavit and the arrested persons past criminal record to set what the judge believes is an appropriate bond.
At the first appearance bond hearing in Florida, the victim will also have an opportunity to speak to the judge to give their input on an appropriate bond amount and conditions. In addition to a monetary bond a judge can impose special conditions such as a GPS monitor, a curfew, no victim contact and random drug and alcohol testing. If a victim wants to continue having contact with the accused, it is important that the victim expresses this wish to the judge so that the judge can allow for contact between the accused and the victim.
Not Every Charge is Entitled to Bond
Some charges are not entitled to bond. These charges are called punishable by life offenses. When the accused is charged with these type of offenses, an attorney can request an Arthur hearing and have a judge determine whether there is proof evident presumption great. If the judge determines that it is not, then the judge can set a bond. However, even if there is proof evident presumption great, the judge can use their discretion and set a bond. If the judge chooses not to use their discretion and set a bond, the accused will be held in jail without a bond until the case is resolved or goes to trial. With such high stakes for these types of proceedings, it is important to have a skilled team to advocate for you!
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