If you have a family member, loved one, or friend who is currently in jail in Okaloosa County, we understand that your first two priorities are getting them released from jail as soon as possible and securing the best criminal defense attorney you can find.
In most circumstances, a person is legally entitled to a reasonable bond. The main exception to this is violations of probation or community control, where someone can be held with no bond.
How bond decisions are made in Okaloosa County
Is there a bond on the arrest warrant?
When someone has a warrant for their arrest, sometimes there will already be a bond on the warrant. If so, they can turn themselves in, post bond, and leave.
What if there was no bond on the warrant?
The person will need to spend at least one night in jail and see a judge for a hearing called “First Appearance.” This is where most bond decisions are made. The Judge will have a report from Pretrial Services that will recommend the appropriate bond, but it is still up to the Judge whether to issue a bond.
What if no bond was set at First Appearance?
The next step is to file a Motion To Set Bond. This will be scheduled for a hearing before the Judge who is assigned to the case. If you need a Motion to Set Bond filed for a loved one, it can take a couple of weeks to get on the Judge’s calendar, so call me as soon as possible.
The following is a partial list of statutory criteria that the Judge will consider:
- The nature and circumstances of the offense charged
- The weight of the evidence against the defendant
- The defendant’s ties to the community and their financial resources
- Whether the Defendant has ever failed to appear for court
- Whether the Defendant poses a danger to the community
- The source of funds and whether they are linked to criminal activities
- Whether the Defendant is already on probation, community control, or parole
What if a bond WAS set at First Appearance but it is too high?
If your loved one had First Appearance in Okaloosa County and the bond was set too high, the next step is to file a Motion to Reduce Bond. Just like with a Motion to Set Bond, call me as soon as possible to get this process started because it can take a couple of weeks to get on the Judge’s docket for the Motion to Reduce Bond.
Need help getting a loved one out of the Okaloosa County Jail?
If someone you care about is in the Okaloosa County jail, Flaherty & Merrifield can help. Give me a call 24/7 at (850) 243-6097. I will look into their current bond status and talk with you about whether to file a Motion to Set Bond or a Motion to Reduce Bond. Either way, I’ll be glad to give you some answers.