Picture a movie scene where the protagonist is arrested and thrown into jail. Anxious family members are usually depicted frantically making calls to bail them out.
The movies often simplify the process. In reality, things are far more complicated. One major complication that cannot and should not be ignored is whether the offense is a state or federal crime. It’s a critical question that can make a world of difference in the bail process.
But don’t panic. We’re here to help you differentiate between state and federal bonds. Keep reading to understand how to navigate these muddy waters with confidence.
1. State Bonds: The Basics
1.1. What Are They?
State bonds, also commonly known as state bail bonds, are financial instruments that enable the release of an individual who has been arrested for a state crime.
A state crime is an offense that violates the laws of a particular state (as opposed to federal laws that are consistent nationwide). Examples of state crimes include assault, theft, DUIs, and drug possession.
These bonds are guided by the legislation of the state in which the offense was committed (in this case, Florida) and can vary significantly from one state to another.
1.2. How Do They Work?
When an individual is arrested for a state-level offense in Florida, they’re typically taken to a local detention facility (e.g., a county jail). Shortly after the arrest, a bail amount is determined.
This can happen in one of two ways: either through a predetermined bail schedule or a bail hearing. A bail schedule is a list of preset bail amounts correlating to different offenses; it’s a quick way to set bail without waiting for a court appearance.
However, some cases require a judge to assess various factors such as criminal history, flight risk, and the severity of the offense before the bail amount is set.
2. Federal Bonds: A Different Ball Game
2.1. What Are They?
Federal bonds come into play when an individual is charged with a federal offense. Unlike state bonds, which pertain to violations of state laws, federal bonds are related to crimes that violate U.S. federal legislation.
These are generally more severe in nature and may include offenses like espionage, bank robbery, immigration violations, and drug trafficking across state lines.
The bail process for federal cases is governed by federal laws and conducted in federal courts; it’s a different jurisdiction entirely from state courts. The rules are stricter, the stakes are higher, and the process is significantly more complex.
2.2. How Do They Work?
When an individual is arrested for a federal crime, the initial detention usually happens at a federal detention facility. Soon after, an initial appearance is scheduled in a federal district court. The magistrate judge determines whether or not to grant bail.
Unlike state cases, there’s no bail schedule in federal cases, and the judge has a considerable amount of discretion in making this decision. In federal cases, two types of bonds are common: a personal surety bond and a corporate surety bond.
- Personal Surety Bond: In this type of bond, a co-signer, who could be a family member or a friend, is responsible for the full bail amount if the defendant fails to appear in court. Sometimes, the judge may even require the co-signer to verify that the funds used for bail are not acquired from illegal activities.
- Corporate Surety Bond: This is where a federal bail bond agentcan assist. Just like with state bonds, you pay a percentage of the total bail amount, and the bondsman covers the rest. Federal bonds usually require a 15% fee compared to the 10% typical for state bonds. Collateral is also commonly required.
Missing a federal court appearance has serious consequences. The full amount of the bail bond is forfeited, and both the co-signer and the defendant face additional federal charges.
How AAmerican Bail Bonds Can Help
AAmerican Bail Bonds specializes in both state and federal bail bonds. We offer 24/7 service to help you secure the release of your loved one as swiftly as possible.
Our experienced team understands the complexities of both state and federal laws. We provide tailored advice that fits your situation. We also specialize in drug charges bail, theft bail bonds, DUI bonds, juvenile bail bonds, assault bail bonds, gun possession bail bonds, and more.
It’s time to protect your future and freedom the right way. If you have additional questions about state and federal bonds, call us today. We proudly serve the Brevard County community.