Bail process in Orlando. Whether you have been brought to the Orange County Jail or another facility in Orlando, the process of posting bail begins only after you have been booked and processed. Bail schedules cover virtually all misdemeanors and some felonies, so that you can contact a friend or relative for help – or call a bail bond agent directly. The bail process will take longer for a more serious crime because a bail hearing must first be held. It’s a very good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney to argue for the lowest possible bail – or even for a release on recognizance. .
Types of Bail in Orlando. There are three basic types of bail available in Florida.
- Release on recognizance. Under an ROR release, a defendant signs an agreement promising to show up for all court hearings and not to break any laws. This is an unsecured release, meaning the defendant doesn’t have to pay any money to the court.
- Cash bond. If you decided to pay in cash – with or without the help of a co-signer – you must pay the entire amount of the bail. There is no 10 percent option. However, unlike a surety bond, which involves a non-refundable premium, a defendant or co-signer receives most of a cash bond back if all bail obligations have been met.
- Surety bond. A secured surety bond is similar to a property bond and indicates that a co-signer is posting real estate or property at least equal to twice the value of the bail. If the defendant puts up the property, the bond is referred to as a secured appearance bond and the value of the property or real estate also must be twice the amount of the bail. Courts may also accept partially secured bonds – usually 10 percent of the total amount of the bond – posted either by the defendant or a co-signer.
Bail co-signer obligations. In order to qualify as a bail co-signer – also known as an indemnitor – a person must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the U.S. and have a connection to the local community. That connection can vary, but many bail bond companies look for at least 2 years residence in the general Orlando area. A co-signer must have a job, and have held it for some time, and have sufficient credit. Depending on the amount of a bail and a co-signer’s financial situation, bail bond companies may require collateral, such as real estate or personal property.
Bail costs and options. A defendant hiring a bail bond agent should expect to pay a 10 percent premium that is non-refundable. Florida sets the premium at 10 percent and companies are not allowed to offer a discount. Paying bail in cash is a way to avoid the 10 percent premium, but it’s important to have enough money available to hire a criminal defense attorney and take care of other costs, such as towing fees, should they apply.