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How Bail Bonds Work in the State of Florida

Every state in the United States has its own method of regulating bail bonds and has associated laws. If a crime is committed in the jurisdiction of the state then the bail for it will be governed by the state laws. Federal laws come into action depending on the type of crime committed and the area in which it was committed. In the state of Florida the regulatory body for bail bonds is the Department of Financial Services (FS 648.26). And the applicable statutes are Florida Statutes (FS) Chapter 648, Chapter 903 and Florida Administrative Code (AR), Chapter 4-221. While local rule governs bail bonds they donít make modifications to statutes or regulations.

To take on bail in Florida it is essential that the individual possess a license (AR 4-221.001, FS 648.26, 648.30). In the state of Florida law there are two kinds of bail bond agents. Firstly a limited surety agent, who is appointed by an insurer to execute bail bonds [FS 648.25(5)] and secondly a professional bail bond agent who pledges US currency as security for a bail bond [FS 648.25(7)]. To acquire a license as a bail bondsman the individual must be an American of over 18 years and a resident of Florida. He should not have been convicted of a felony and should have completed a certain number of hours of study of bail bonds laws. Some interesting features of bail bonds in Florida include:

  • In cases where the defendant has failed to appear for the trial a notice of forfeiture is to be sent by the court clerk to the surety agent and company within 5 days.
  • Forfeiture to judgment must be paid within 60 days of notice.
  • Surety bail bonds cannot be approved until a judgment has been paid. [FS 903.27(3)]
  • If indictment is filed within 6 months of the arrest [FS 903.26(1)] and the clerk of the court gives 72 hours notice (exclusive of weekends and holidays) to surety of time of the defendantís required appearance [FS 903.26(1)(b)], the bond cannot be forfeited. Furthermore if for reasons such as serious illness, confinement to a hospital or a prison the defendant was unable to appear before the court then it is considered a forfeiture defense.
  • A bail agent may arrest a defendant and bring him into official custody before a forfeiture (FS 903.22) or within 2 years of forfeiture (FS 903.29).
  • In Florida freelance bounty hunters are not allowed and only bail runners who work for only one agent at a time are permitted.  For this the bail runner must be a Florida resident who is over 18 years and has no criminal background and should have passed a certification course (Fla. Stat. 648.37). A bail runner is restricted from making an arrest on an out of state bond unless he or she is licensed in the state or the state where the bond was written (Fla. Stat. 648.30).

If in need of a bail bond in Florida it is advisable to contact a licensed bail bondsman at the earliest. Furthermore it is crucial that you understand the terms and conditions that may go along with the bail. Florida only allows certified law enforcement officers or persons qualified and recognized to make arrests and bring in defendants who have failed to appear before the court.


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Last modified: 01.10.2014