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Conditions of Pretrial Release

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure § 3.131 establishes that unless a person is charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great, every person charged with a crime or violation of municipal or county ordinance is entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions. 

An alleged offender can be detained when no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process. 

Under the same Rule of Criminal Procedure, an alleged offender must refrain from any contact of any type with the victim and shall comply with all conditions of pretrial release as a condition of pretrial release. 

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments, and judges in Florida often have tremendous discretion in setting bond amounts as well as pretrial release conditions.

Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL Discusses Conditions of Pretrial Release

If you or your loved one needs assistance earning pretrial release or you have been accused of violating the conditions of your pretrial release in the Tampa Bay area, it will be in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. Morris Law Firm, P.A. aggressively defends clients in Sarasota County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County, Pasco County, and Pinellas County. 

Melinda Morris is an experienced criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg who can help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. Call (727) 388-4736 to have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.

Overview of Conditions of Pretrial Release in Florida

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Pretrial Release Eligibility in Pinellas County

Most pretrial release programs in Florida are administered by their respective counties, with some being overseen by sheriff’s offices, others being run by county courts or county departments. The names of such programs can differ by county (Sarasota County and Manatee County both use the phrase “Pretrial Services,” while Pinellas County uses a Supervised Release on Recognizance [SROR] program and Hillsborough County has a Misdemeanor Intervention Program), but the basic concepts of each program are largely the same. 

Florida Statute § 907.041(3)(a) states that any person not charged with a dangerous crime as defined under Florida Statute § 907.041(4) will be released on monetary conditions if it is determined that such monetary conditions are necessary to assure the presence of the person at trial or at other proceedings, to protect the community from risk of physical harm to persons, to assure the presence of the accused at trial, or to assure the integrity of the judicial process. 

Under Florida Statute § 907.041(3)(b), a person cannot be released on nonmonetary conditions under the supervision of a pretrial release service, unless the service certifies to the court that it has investigated or otherwise verified: 

  • The circumstances of the accused’s family, employment, financial resources, character, mental condition, and length of residence in the community; 
  • The accused’s record of convictions, of appearances at court proceedings, of flight to avoid prosecution, or of failure to appear at court proceedings; and 
  • Other facts necessary to assist the court in its determination of the indigence of the accused and whether she or he should be released under the supervision of the service. 

Florida Statute § 907.041(4)(b) establishes that any person charged with a dangerous crime will not be granted nonmonetary pretrial release at his or her first appearance (advisory) hearing. The court does, however, retain the discretion to release the alleged offender on electronic monitoring or on recognizance bond if the findings on the record of facts and circumstances warrant such a release.

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Violations of Conditions of Pretrial Release in St. Petersburg

Under Florida Statute § 903.047(1), an alleged offender is required to do all of the following as a condition of pretrial release, whether such release is by surety bail bond or recognizance bond: 

  • Refrain from any contact of any type with the victim, if the court issues a no contact order, 
  • Refrain from communicating orally or in any written form, either in person, telephonically, electronically, or in any other manner, either directly or indirectly through a third person, with the victim or any other person named in the order. 
  • Refrain from having physical or violent contact with the victim or other named person or his or her property; 
  • Refrain from being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s residence, even if the defendant and the victim or other named person share the residence; and 
  • Refrain from being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s vehicle, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by such person; and 
  • Comply with all conditions of pretrial release. 

When a person allegedly violates any of these conditions, it can result in the revocation of the pretrial release. If an alleged offender is accused of being arrested for a new criminal offense, Florida Statute § 903.0471 states that a court can, on its own motion, revoke pretrial release and order pretrial detention if it finds probable cause to believe that a person committed a new crime while on pretrial release.

A prosecutor may argue that an alleged violation of the conditions of pretrial release justifies detaining the individual. A prosecutor may argue that pretrial release can be revoked without an adversarial hearing, if a court orders a person to be held without bond as the result of a pretrial release violation.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus—a court order to a government agency detaining a person to bring that individual before the court to determine the legality of his or her custody and possibly order his or her release.

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Florida Conditions of Pretrial Release Resources

Florida Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument | Pretrial Justice Institute — View the full text of a 2012 report by the JFA Institute, a nonprofit agency that “works in partnership with federal, state, and local government agencies, and philanthropic foundations to evaluate criminal justice practices and design research-based policy solutions.” Pinellas County was one of six counties in Florida that participated in the study. The average success rate of defendants—with success being defined as not being rearrested on new charges and appearing for all court dates—in the study was 87 percent, with two groups identified as having success rates above that average and two groups with rates below it.

County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2015 | Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) — The OPPAGA is the research arm of the Florida Legislature that provides data, evaluative research, and objective analyses relating to legislative budget and policy deliberations. The report covers how Florida’s pretrial release programs were funded, the nature of the charges and criminal history of defendants in pretrial release programs, and the number of defendants served by pretrial release programs were issued warrants for failing to appear in court or were arrested while in the program. According to the report Pinellas County collected $161,620 in alcohol monitoring fees and $109,250 in electronic monitoring fees in 2015.

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Find an Attorney for Conditions of Pretrial Release in St. Petersburg, FL

Have you been accused of violating the conditions of your pretrial release or did you or your loved one need help being granted pretrial release? Contact Morris Law Firm, P.A. as soon as possible.

St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer Melinda Morris represents individuals in Pinellas Park, Clearwater, Dunedin, Largo, and several other surrounding areas of the greater Pinellas County area? 

You can have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (727) 388-4736 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

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