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What are your bail rights after arrest?

If law enforcement officers arrest you and take you to jail, you probably expect that you can post bail and thereby obtain your release pending trial. Unfortunately, such is not always the case.

The Legal Information Institute explains that while the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits excessive bail, it does not grant you the constitutional right to it.

Bail Reform Act

The Bail Reform Act of 1984 provides that a judge can deny you bail if he or she determines that you pose a flight risk or a danger to your community. Denial of bail usually occurs if you face one of the following types of charges:

  • Commission of a violent crime
  • Commission of a crime for which the conviction penalties include life imprisonment or death
  • Commission of a serious drug crime
  • Commission of a felony as a repeat offender

If a judge determines that you do not fall within one of the above categories, he or she generally must offer you bail.

Florida bail criteria

In Florida, the judge can take a number of things, including the following, when determining whether to grant you bail and if so, the amount thereof:

  • The nature of the crime for which you face charges
  • The circumstances under which the prosecution alleges you committed this crime
  • The weight of the evidence against you
  • Your ties to the community
  • Any previous convictions you have
  • The type and source of funds you plan to use to post bail

In addition, the judge can consider how much, if any, the danger you pose to the alleged crime victim or the witnesses whose testimony the prosecution intends to use against you at trial.

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