December 24, 2016
STOP!!! BEFORE YOU POST BOND…
Before you post bond make sure that you do not become a victim of system error and pay more than is required. At the first appearance, after being arrested, the court will set bond. Oftentimes, defendants are released on their own recognizance (ROR) so many individuals will not bond out immediately but will wait to see what will happen at their first appearance. Any person who must bond out to get out may use the services of a bondsman who is required by the state of Florida to charge 10% of the bond set by the court. For example, if a blanket bond was originally set at $15,000, the bondsman’s fee will be $1,500. If there are several charges, oftentimes, the state will drop one or more of the charges and at the arraignment, the blanket may be removed and a separate bond set for each remaining charge. If this new action has not been accurately updated in the jail’s system and an attempt is made to bond the defendant out, there will be a sharp increase in the amount required for bond. So instead of the $1,500 it originally took to bond out, it may now cost $1,500 per charge and will include payment for charges that have already been dropped. According to a local Jacksonville bonding agency, people oftentimes pay more than is required to bond a family member out of jail. This happens when the clerks’s office, the state attorney’s office and the jail’s records are not congruent and show different case status information. In order to prevent the county from double dipping into your pockets at a time when you are most vulnerable, pause for a moment, go on-line and check to determine any changes in the official charges and the bond amount. You can also call the Clerk of Court for that information. If left unchecked, you may pay dearly.
Once the errors have been resolved and the appropriate bond is posted, the defendant must be found free of any pending warrants prior to actual release. If another warrant is found, it will result in another bond . Since the defendant must attend another first appearance the next day on the new charge, it may be financially sound to wait until morning before posting any additional bond. The court may drop that bond.
For public access to cases in Duval County: www.duvalclerk.com , click on court records (if it asks you for a name and password put anything in), put in as much info as you know under ‘case inquiry’, click on the case number for particulars. For other Florida counties, go to your ‘clerk of court’.