If a defendant retains a defense attorney while he or she is in custody, assigned counsel should immediately prepare and file a motion to modify bond. This is a motion stating that the bail amount set exceeds the defendant’s ability to pay and requests the court to enter an order reducing the original amount.
In Broward County bond amounts are set at a defendant’s first appearance.
A motion to set or reduce bond should at the very least include the following issues:
• Nature of the charge
• The amount of bond previously set
• A request for a reduction of that amount
• A simple statement that advises the court of the address at which the defendant will be staying should he or she be released on a lower bond amount
• If necessary, an indication that the defendant will remain with in the courts jurisdiction until resolution of the criminal matter.
Released on own recognizance
Request of the court made by a criminal defense attorney that his client be released on his own personal recognizance should be handled in the same general manner. These types of conditional release allow the defendant to sign a document swearing that he or she will appear timely at all criminal court proceedings associated with the case.
Issues commonly considered by the court :
• The nature of the crime
• The weight of the evidence
• Family ties
• Financial resources
• Character and mental condition
• Community ties
• Prior convictions
• Prior failures to appear
• Prior bond forfeitures
These issues considered by the court in determining a defendant’s eligibility for conditional release are also excellent points to address in requesting a bond amount.