If you were arrested for driving under the influence, your priority would be to get out of jail. After your arrest, 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. What follows the initial incarceration after the DUI arrest is obtaining a release through bail or a recognizance release. Our Tampa criminal defense lawyers have put together valuable information you should know if you were arrested for a DUI and you want to post bail.
If you were arrested for DUI and need legal assistance, contact our Tampa DUI defense attorneys today at (813) 321-7323!
How Does Posting Bail Work?
The purpose of bail is to ensure that the person accused of a crime returns to court at a later date. While the bail payment might be returned after the legal process has concluded, an issue may arise if the person fails to attend the court hearing. Depending on the details of a case, the accused may be able to post bail immediately after their arrest. However, other cases depend on the jurisdiction or type of charge. If you’re not able to post bail immediately after the arrest, you will have to wait until the bail hearing before posting bail.
How Are Bail Amounts Decided?
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 the person accused of a DUI can’t afford to post bail. If that is the case, the suspect, or their friends or family can come up with the full bail amount that was established by the court. The suspect can also post a “bond” in place of the full amount. Many 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.
What Is Own Recognizance Release?
A driver accused of DUI can be granted an “own recognizance” (OR) release. An own recognizance release is when 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 their own recognizance release to contact the court regularly for updates on their case and to be prohibited from traveling out of the area while their case is pending in the courts.
When a DUI suspect is released on bail or an own recognizance 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.
Need legal assistance? Call our Tampa DUI attorney to fight your DUI charges at (813) 321-7323 to schedule a free case evaluation with a former prosecutor!