Bail Bonds

First appearance is a defendant’s first appearance in front of a judge. Florida law mandates that when an accused person is taken to jail, they appear before a judge within 24 hours of arrest. At this appearance the judge will review the case and address the matter of the defendant’s bond.

Any of the following events may happen at first appearance:

  • A monetary bond amount will be set for a defendant who was arrested under “no bond”.
  • A previously set monetary bond may be revoked and a defendant will receive “no bond” status.
  • The monetary amount for the bond may be raised, lowered, or remains the same.
  • The defendant may be placed on supervised release. In this case defendants must report regularly to the Pretrial staff until their case is disposed, and may sometimes be required to comply with special court-ordered conditions such as random urinalysis, drug and alcohol evaluations, AA/NA meetings, curfews, etc.
  • Defendants with significant community ties, who do not pose a threat of danger or risk of flight, may be released on their own recognizance (ROR) and allowed to return to court without any monetary responsibility.

If a defendant skips bail and doesn’t appear at a court date, the bail will be surrendered. In the event that a defendant’s bail is paid through a bail bondsman, the bail bond agent has the authority to locate the defendant and surrender him or her to the court.

First appearance should not be confused with a defendant’s arraignment. In most cases a defendant will not plea guilty or not guilty until their arraignment.