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Will a first-time offender have to pay bail?

Getting arrested is a scary experience, particularly for first-time offenders. They likely do not know anything about the arrest process, other than what they have seen on TV. What is shown on most TV shows would not do much to alleviate fears. Usually, a first-time offender will face less severe penalties and should not have to stay in jail.

When bail is not an option

In Florida, anyone who has not been accused of a crime that is punished by life imprisonment or death is eligible to be released on bail. Acts like murder, aggravated battery or carjacking may be punished with life in prison or a death sentence. Being accused of other lesser crimes will allow the possibility of bail.

Bail may happen right away

Sometimes, the defendant can pay bail almost immediately after the arrest. It really depends on the crime in question and where the defendant has been arrested. Not having a criminal history will certainly work in the defendant’s favor.

If bail is not offered right away, the judge will determine bail when the defendant first appears in court. The first appearance should happen within 24 hours of an arrest. In some cases, the individual may be released without having to pay any bail at all. With more serious charges, there is an increased likelihood that someone will need to pay bail to get the individual out of jail. The severity of the charges will also likely increase the amount required for bail.

How do bail bonds work?

By putting up a bond, the person who does so believes the individual being bailed out will attend all needed court appearances. The money helps ensure the accused will show up in court. If he or she does not come to court, the person that posted bail will lose the money put up as bond. If loved ones do not have enough money for the full bail amount, they can contact a bail bondsman. The bondsman asks for 10 percent of the bond.

Assuming the defendant is released on bail, the next hearing will be an arraignment where he or she pleads guilty or not guilty. Having legal representation at these proceedings will help ensure the defendant’s interests are well represented.

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