What is a bond reduction hearing? Will the bond be lowered? [11 things a judge will look for]
A bond reduction hearing is a court hearing where a defendant requests the judge to lower or reduce the defendant’s bond to a reasonable amount that the defendant can afford to pay so as to bond out of jail.
What things will a judge consider in lowering a bond in Florida?
In deciding whether to lower a defendant’s bail, a judge will look at several factors. The main things that a judge will consider are:
The nature and circumstances of the offense charged – The judge will consider what crime or crimes the defendant is currently charged with, the allegations in the police reports, and statements of any witnesses or victims.
The weight of evidence against the defendant – The judge will consider how strong or weak the case against the defendant appears to be.
The financial resources and employment history of the defendant – The judge will look at the financial standing of the defendant and whether the defendant is employed in order to determine what the defendant can afford to pay.
The source of funds that will be used to post bail – Sometimes the judge--particularly in cases involving drug sales or trafficking in controlled substances, or cases involving fraud or theft--will inquire about how the defendant received the money that will be used to post the bond. Sometimes the judge will want a separate hearing on the matter, called a Nebia Hearing.
The defendant's family ties – The judge will consider whether the defendant has family in the area. This can include not only immediate family, but also extended family. The idea is that if the defendant has family in the area, they have ties to the community and are more likely to stay in the area than to flee.
The ties to the community – In addition to family that lives in the area, a judge may also consider other potential ties to the community, such as the fact that the defendant owns a local business, rents or owns a home locally, whether the defendant is employed in the area, etc.
The defendant's prior criminal history and past and present conduct – The judge will consider the criminal history of the defendant in addition to other “conduct” such as prior arrests or criminal allegations.
The length of residence in the community – The judge will want to know how long the defendant has lived in the area and how established the defendant is in the community. The thinking is that a defendant who has lived in the area for a long time and has significant ties to the community is likely going to remain in the area and go to court rather than leave.
The danger to the community – The judge will consider the nature and probability of danger that the defendant's release poses to the community. The nature of the current allegations and criminal history of the defendant are the main things the judge will look at here.
Any previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings - If the defendant has failed to appear for a court date in the past, a judge will consider this in setting the bond.
Any other facts the court considers relevant – Florida law allows a judge to consider additional things brought to the court’s attention as long as they are relevant to the issue of setting the bond.