Ex St. Johns County official arrested for violating terms of release

An ex St. Augustine city commissioner was arrested two times this week, according to an article in the Florida Times Union.   The first St. Johns County arrest was for the felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor resisting a law enforcement officer without violence.  After being released on these charges, the man was arrested again for violating terms of his conditional release.  Police say that part of his release was that he was restricted from going to his home and claim he violated that condition.

When someone is arrested for a crime involving an alleged victim, such as domestic battery or aggravated assault in Duval, judges not only impose a monetary bond, but place restrictions on where a defendant can go.  Judges will make “no victim contact” a condition of the defendant’s release.  No contact means no contact.  Obviously that means no in-person contact, but the restriction also applies to other forms.  A defendant cannot call, text, email, send a message on Facebook or even through a third party.  If the alleged victim makes either the police or prosecutor aware they have been contacted, the judge on the case can revoke the person’s bond and put them in jail until their case is resolved.

Restrictions on where a person on bond can go is just the beginning of what conditions a judge can place on a person merely accused of a crime.  In DUI cases in Duval County, judges routinely order that a defendant not drink alcohol.  In order to make sure they comply, judges can order that the person wear a SCRAM monitor on their ankle for the duration of their case.  The monitor measures any alcohol in a person’a sweat and sends a signal to the monitoring company once a day.  In addition to being cumbersome, the monitor fees are expensive.  In Jacksonville drug cases, judges can require a defendant to wear a drug patch.  The patch monitors any drug ingestion and is checked regularly.  Judges can also restrict a person to their house, which is like a pre-disposition house arrest.  Courts can make sure the defendant is where they are supposed to be by placing a GPS monitor on the ankle.

There are two reasons judges place monetary bonds and restrictions of people arrested for a crime.   The first thing a judge must determine is whether or not the person arrested is a danger to the community.  The judge will look at the person’s previous criminal history, if there is one, and look at the current charges to make this determination.  The second thing a judge must consider is whether or not the person arrested poses a flight risk.  If the person does not have a local address, their Duval County bond may be higher to assure their future attendance in court.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Bond Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.