FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. If you have been arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a chain of events can begin to occur that can impact your life, freedom, and future. You have the right to ask to speak to a lawyer. Michael D. Weinstein, PA are criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who can assist you if you have been arrested.
One of the most immediate questions you and your family might ask is whether you will have to remain in jail while you await your trial. How does bail work, and what rights do you have? According to the New York Times, you’ll be brought before a judge shortly after you have been arrested. During this hearing, which usually takes place around 24 hours after your arrest, the judge will determine whether bail is needed, and if bail is determined necessary, the judge will set an amount. Having a qualified criminal defense lawyer at your side during this initial hearing can sometimes have an impact on whether bail is set and the amount of bail that set. In some cases, judges allow defendants to be released with no bail while they await trial. Other defendants may not be offered bail at all. Finally, some defendants might be permitted to go free, but only if they can post bail.
How is bail determined?
The judge in your hearing will determine your ability to pay bail and the risk that you won’t appear for your trial. Based on these factors, the judge will set bail. A qualified criminal defense attorney like Michael D. Weinstein, PA, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida can fight for you to set a reasonable bail, and can argue for the judge to release you without bail.
If you can pay bail on your own, the money will be returned to you when you meet the court’s requirements (appear on trial dates and meet any other requirements set by the court). However, if you cannot afford bail out of pocket (and many people cannot), sometimes families turn to bail bondsmen. These companies will pay bail to the court, but families will still be responsible for paying a fee to the bondmen. The New York Times reports that these fees can vary from 6% of posted bail to 10%. So, it is in your financial interest to have a lawyer argue against bail, or at the very least, a lower bail amount. It can save you money while you await trial. If there is an alternative to bail, like a supervised release programs, your attorney may be able to argue for this option.
Critics of bail claim that it results in poorer defendants being put in jail, while wealthier people who can afford bail go free. According to a judge writing for the Orlando Sentinel, the vast majority of individuals facing trial appear on their court dates. The idea that bail is a deterrent to flight risks may not be accurate. In fact, the judge explained that the people who don’t show up for their trials often end up being taken into custody by police in due time. Bail requirements often leave tax payer money jailing the poorest individuals awaiting trial.
If you are facing criminal charges, much is at stake. Your reputation is on the line. Your freedom can be lost. You could be facing high bail. Protect yourself. You have the right to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer. Contact Michael D. Weinstein, PA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today.
Michael D. Weinstein, P.A.
12 Southeast 7th Street, Suite 713
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301