Once you are arrested during a traffic stop for
driving under the influence (DUI) in Tampa, you will soon realize that the whole legal process has
only just begun. You will be taken down to the station for “booking”
or “processing” and you will be put in what’s called
the “drunk tank” for a while before you can go home.
Whenever someone is jailed for DUI, their first priority is to get out.
What follows the initial incarceration after the DUI arrest is obtaining
a release through bale or an own recognizance release.
Why do DUI suspects post bail?
After booking, a DUI suspect may pay money (bail), and in exchange they
are promising to appear in court for all of their scheduled court proceedings,
such as the arraignment and the preliminary hearing etc.
Sometimes a DUI suspect is not allowed to post bail right after they are
booked. However, a judge may decide during the arraignment or a preliminary
hearing, or even at the trial, that the defendant can be released on bail.
How much is bail for a DUI in Tampa? In some cases bail is determined through
what’s called a “bail schedule.” Other times, the judge
may decide to set a specific bail amount based on the following factors:
- The suspect’s criminal record
- The suspect’s history of prior DUIs (if any)
- The seriousness of the DUI offense
- Whether the suspect injured or killed anyone as a result of the DUI incident
- The suspect’s ties to their family and the community
- The suspect’s employment situation
What if I can’t afford to post bail?
Sometimes a DUI suspect simply can’t afford to post bail. In that
situation, the suspect themselves, or the suspect’s friends or family
are allowed to come up with the full bail amount that was established
by the court, or the suspect may post a “bond” in place of
the full amount.
What is a bond? It’s a
promise or a written guarantee that if the suspect fails to appear at any of their
court appearances, the full bail amount will be paid. Usually, people
obtain their bonds from bail bond agencies, which typically post the bond
for a fee of about 10% of the bail amount.
In many cases, a bail bond agency will require other collateral before
they post bond. Why? Because, if the defendant skips town or otherwise
“fails to appear,” the bail bond agency is on the hook for
the full bail amount.
Own Recognizance Release
In some situations a driver is arrested for DUI, taken down to the station
for booking, and is eventually granted what’s called an “own
recognizance” (OR) release. In this case, the defendant is not required
to pay any bail money to be released from police custody.
Although the suspect is released from custody, it doesn’t mean they
are “walking away” from their DUI charges. Instead, the suspect
signs a written agreement, promising to appear in court for all future
criminal court proceedings.
Usually, when a criminal court releases a defendant on their own recognizance,
there are conditions attached. For example, it’s common for suspects
on OR release to contact the court regularly for updates on their case,
and to be prohibited from travelling out of the area while their case
is pending in the courts.
When a DUI suspect is released on bail or OR release and they fail to appear
at a scheduled court appearance, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
Under Section 843.15 of the Florida Statutes, if a defendant is on bail
and they fail to appear, they face misdemeanor or felony charges depending
on the original offense.
If the original offense was a misdemeanor, the defendant faces a separate
misdemeanor of the first degree charge under Sec. 843.15. If the original
offense was for felony DUI and the defendant does not show up in court,
the defendant will be charged with the separate offense
failure to appear, a felony of the third degree.
Looking for a Tampa DUI attorney to fight your DUI charges?
Contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. to schedule a free case evaluation with a former