I sometimes get a frantic phone call from a wife or mother stating that one of her family members has just been arrested and asking whether her loved one will be able to bond out of jail. I ask what charge the loved one was arrested for. If the charge is a crime of violence listed in the Palm Beach County bond schedule, then the loved one will have to remain in jail until he or she goes to a first-appearance hearing which is typically held within 24 hours of the person being arrested. At that hearing, a judge will determine whether the arresting officer had probable cause to arrest the person and what amount bond is to be set at (assuming that the judge found probable cause to exist). Before October 1, 2006, just one bond was set even if a person was arrested on several different counts. However, since that date, a judge at first appearance is required to set a bond for each specific count. Thus, if a person was, for example, arrested for 5 counts of grand theft prior to October 1, 2006, a judge might have set one bond in the amount of $10,000 to cover all 5 counts. But since October 1, a judge might set bond at $5,000 for each count which would result in the arrested person having a total bond of $25,000. The result has been the setting of some ridiculously-high bonds. I have even heard some prosecutors question whether such a system does not at times result in unreasonably high bonds.
Florida criminal lawyer Ronald Chapman has been representing people accused of committing crimes since 1990. You can read more about Mr. Chapman’s experience as a Florida criminal attorney as well as review news articles about some of his cases. Some of the types of cases and issues that Mr. Chapman has handled since 1990 include: