Articles Posted in Bonds and Bail in Jacksonville

It is a terrible jolt when you or someone you love is arrested in Duval, Clay, Nassau or St. Johns County.  There is a feeling of helplessness, but you don’t have to handle it alone.  Our Jacksonville Arrest Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is here for you at all hours, every day.

As soon as a police officer orders you to stop or puts the handcuffs on, you are detained.  You have the absolute right to be silent.  Exercise that right.  Absolutely EVERYTHING you say can be used against you in court.  You will be eventually be transported to the Duval County Jail and be processed.  Once you reach the your floor of the jail, you can make collect phone calls.  Most of the time, you will not be able to bond out of jail in Duval County until you go in front of a judge.  This is called first appearance court, or J-1 for short in Jacksonville.  When you go in front of the judge, you will be sitting with everyone who was arrested in the last twelve to twenty-four hours.  The judge will read the arrest and booking report and make two determinations.  First, he or she will determine whether or not there was probable cause to arrest you.  This means more likely than not, a crime was committed.  Second, the judge will determine your conditions of release.  Most of the time, the judge will impose a monetary bond that you will have to post to bond out of jail in Jacksonville.  If you can afford to pay the whole amount of the bond, at the conclusion of your case, the entire amount will be returned to you.  You can also utilize a bail bondsman.  You, or your loved ones, must give the bondsman ten percent of the bond amount and they will vouch for the rest.  You must also provide some type of collateral, such as a car title, for the amount above the ten percent.  When your case is disposed of, you get the collateral back and the bondsman keeps the ten percent.

Often times in Jacksonville, the bonds are set extremely high.  Higher than most every other county around.  If your loved one’s bond is set too high for you to meet, there is hope.  Contact a Jacksonville Bond Reduction Lawyer immediately.  We can move the court to lower the bond at any time, presenting evidence of your ties to the community, employment information and family situation.

A teacher’s aide with the Duval County Public School system has been arrested on two counts of child abuse.  According to an article on Jacksonville.com, the woman was arrested in Jacksonville on Mother’s Day for the two felony charges.  In the arrest and booking report, police say they were called out to a “domestic dispute” and spoke with the alleged victim’s, the aide’s children.  They told police that the woman became angry because all she got for Mother’s Day was a card.  They claim the woman began to throw things around the room and hit the child with a metal broom multiple times on the arms and legs.  The children also claim the woman punched one in the mouth and pulled her hair.  Police said they observed welt marks on the child, along with a swollen lip and bruises.  The evidence technician was called to the scene and photographed the alleged injuries.

In Florida, there are different levels of child abuse.  Child abuse, in Jacksonville and all over the state, is defined as intentionally inflicting physical or mental injury on a child, committing an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury on a child or actively encouraging another to commit an act that could result in the child being harmed.  While we all know what physical injury is, mental injury is defined by Florida statute.  It is injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child evidenced by substantial impairment in the ability of the child to function normally.  “Basic” child abuse is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison if the State can show that great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement is caused by the abuse.  Aggravated child abuse is more serious in the eyes of Florida law and is a first degree felony.  Aggravated child abuse is when a person commits an aggravated battery on a child, willfully tortures, maliciously punishes or willfully cages a child or knowingly commits child abuse causing great bodily harm, disability or disfigurement.  If convicted of this aggravated form, the maximum a defendant is facing is thirty years in prison.

In each of the aide’s child abuse charges, the judge issued a $15003 Jacksonville bond for each.  If she used a Duval County bondsman, she will be required to pay ten percent of that amount and will have to post collateral to cover the rest.  Monetary bonds are placed on people charged with crimes to encourage them to make future court appearances.  When the case is over, the bond is discharged.

Last week, an inspector at the Jacksonville Electric Authority was arrested for charges of employee theft and being a public servant that falsified official documents. According to an article in the Florida Times Union, the employee is accused of lying on his time sheet, billing for hours he did not work.  Police say the man spent many hours doing personal things and billing the public utility for that time.

The man was released on his own recognizance by the judge in first appearance court.  In Jacksonville and all over Florida, when you are arrested, you will be brought in front of a judge within twenty-four hours to address your release.  The judge will decide whether or not you are a danger to the community and whether or not you pose a flight risk.  The judge will consider how long you have lived in the county, your criminal history, if any, your family living in the county, your employment, etc.  Most of the time, judges will set a bond, which is an amount of money you will have to pay to be released.  If a bond is set, you can pay the whole amount directly to the jail and will be the whole amount back at the conclusion of your case.  If you cannot afford to post the full amount of Jacksonville bond, you can use a bondsman.  They will take ten percent of the bond amount and post the rest with the jail for you.  In this case, the judge released the JEA employee on his own recognizance, which means he did not have to pay any money to get out of jail.  However, the judge also required that the employee report to Jacksonville Pretrial Services.  This is a jail release program where you have to report upon being released from jail and you will be randomly drug tested while your case is pending.  The employee has to report to Pretrial Services until he completes the MilePost class, which is an anti-theft class.  Once that is completed, the man just has to report to his court dates as directed.

Employee theft in Florida, when the value stolen is $300 or more and less than $5000, is considered a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.  In this case, police say the man appropriated ill-received payment (about $4500 worth) to himself for work he did not do for the utility company.  The other Duval County criminal charge is called “official misconduct”  It is against the law in Florida for a public worker, with corrupt intent to obtain a benefit to falsify any official record or official document.  In this case, the man is accused of falsifying his time sheets.

The wrong woman was released from the Clay County Jail last week.  According to an article on Jacksonville.com, Jessica Davis’ family posted her bond for her to be released while her misdemeanor simple battery case is pending.  Instead of being released once the bond was processed, Clay County released another woman, Jessica Arnott.  Arnott was being held in jail on a pending felony aggravated battery charge in Clay County.   The right Jessica was eventually released to her family and the other Jessica was returned to the jail.  Jessica Arnott now faces an additional charge of Escape.  Escape is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.

When you are arrested in Clay County or anywhere in Florida, you are entitled to be seen by a judge within twenty-four hours.  In some cases, you will get issued a bond prior to going to that first appearance.  These pre-first appearance bonds are reserved for minor crimes, such as petit theft and misdemeanor criminal mischief.  For the most part, the judge in first appearance court will issue a bond, depending on the charge.  There are two considerations judges take into account to set appearance bonds.  The first is whether or not the person is a danger to the community and the second is whether or not the person is a flight risk.  Judges will obviously look at the current allegations against the defendant to determine the level, if any, of danger the arrested person poses to the community at large.  They will also look at the person’s ties to the community and previous arrest record.

Once a bond is set, there are two ways to post it.  You can post the whole amount with the Sheriff’s Office and that amount will be returned when the case is disposed of.  The great majority of people utilize a bondsman.  Most bondsman take 10% of the bond amount and demand collateral to cover the rest.  Bondsmen essentially provide an insurance policy to ensure your appearance in court.  When the bond is posted, the jail runs checks to make sure you don’t have any outstanding warrants or capias’.  If you have nothing holding you, you will be released on the condition your return for your court dates.

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.