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2013 Florida Statutes

CHAPTER 903
CHAPTER 903
BAIL
903.011 “Bail” and “bond” defined; general terms.
903.02 Actions following denial; changes in bail conditions or bond amount; separation by charge or offense.
903.03 Jurisdiction of trial court to admit to bail; duties and responsibilities of Department of Corrections.
903.035 Applications for bail; information provided; hearing on application for modification; penalty for providing false or misleading information or omitting material information.
903.0351 Restrictions on pretrial release pending probation-violation hearing or community-control-violation hearing.
903.045 Nature of criminal surety bail bonds.
903.046 Purpose of and criteria for bail determination.
903.047 Conditions of pretrial release.
903.0471 Violation of condition of pretrial release.
903.05 Qualification of sureties.
903.06 Validity of undertaking by minor.
903.08 Sufficiency of sureties.
903.09 Justification of sureties.
903.101 Sureties; licensed persons; to have equal access.
903.105 Appearance bonds.
903.131 Bail on appeal, revocation; recommission.
903.132 Bail on appeal; conditions for granting; appellate review.
903.133 Bail on appeal; prohibited for certain felony convictions.
903.14 Contracts to indemnify sureties.
903.16 Deposit of money or bonds as bail.
903.17 Substitution of cash bail for other bail.
903.18 Bail after deposit of money or bonds.
903.20 Surrender of defendant.
903.21 Method of surrender; exoneration of obligors.
903.22 Arrest of principal by surety before forfeiture.
903.26 Forfeiture of the bond; when and how directed; discharge; how and when made; effect of payment.
903.27 Forfeiture to judgment.
903.28 Remission of forfeiture; conditions.
903.286 Return of cash bond; requirement to withhold unpaid fines, fees, court costs; cash bond forms.
903.29 Arrest of principal by surety after forfeiture.
903.31 Canceling the bond.
903.32 Defects in bond.
903.33 Bail not discharged for certain defects.
903.34 Who may admit to bail.
903.36 Guaranteed arrest bond certificates as cash bail.
903.011 “Bail” and “bond” defined; general terms.
(1) As used in this chapter, the terms “bail” and “bond” include any and all forms of pretrial release.
(2) Any monetary or cash component of any form of pretrial release may be met by a surety bond.
(3) Differing monetary amounts may not be set for cash, surety, or other forms of pretrial release.
History.s. 39, ch. 84-103; s. 2, ch. 2008-224.
903.02 Actions following denial; changes in bail conditions or bond amount; separation by charge or offense.
(1) If application for bail is made to an authorized court and denied, no court of inferior jurisdiction shall admit the applicant to bail unless such court of inferior jurisdiction is the court having jurisdiction to try the defendant.
(2) No judge of a court of equal or inferior jurisdiction may remove a condition of bail or reduce the amount of bond required, unless such judge:
(a) Imposed the conditions of bail or set the amount of bond required;
(b) Is the chief judge of the circuit in which the defendant is to be tried;
(c) Has been assigned to preside over the criminal trial of the defendant; or
(d) Is the designee of the chief judge and a judge has not yet been assigned to the criminal trial.
(3) The term “court,” as used in this chapter, includes all state courts.
(4) Any judge setting or granting monetary bail shall set a separate and specific bail amount for each charge or offense. When bail is posted, each charge or offense requires a separate bond.
History.s. 45, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(45); s. 1, ch. 70-86; s. 1, ch. 77-119; s. 37, ch. 82-175; s. 40, ch. 84-103; s. 1, ch. 2006-279.
903.03 Jurisdiction of trial court to admit to bail; duties and responsibilities of Department of Corrections.
(1) After a person is held to answer by a trial court judge, the court having jurisdiction to try the defendant shall, before indictment, affidavit, or information is filed, have jurisdiction to hear and decide all preliminary motions regarding bail and production or impounding of all articles, writings, moneys, or other exhibits expected to be used at the trial by either the state or the defendant.
(2)(a) The Department of Corrections shall have the authority on the request of a circuit court when a person charged with a noncapital crime or bailable offense is held, to make an investigation and report to the court, including:
1. The circumstances of the accused’s family, employment, financial resources, character, mental condition, and length of residence in the community;
2. The accused’s record of convictions, of appearance at court proceedings, of flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings; and
3. Other facts that may be needed to assist the court in its determination of the indigency of the accused and whether she or he should be released on her or his own recognizance.
(b) The court shall not be bound by the recommendations.
History.s. 46, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(46); s. 1, ch. 67-151; s. 21, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 5, ch. 75-301; s. 13, ch. 77-120; s. 22, ch. 79-3; s. 1474, ch. 97-102; s. 30, ch. 2004-11.
903.035 Applications for bail; information provided; hearing on application for modification; penalty for providing false or misleading information or omitting material information.
(1)(a) All information provided by a defendant, in connection with any application for or attempt to secure bail, to any court, court personnel, or individual soliciting or recording such information for the purpose of evaluating eligibility for, or securing, bail for the defendant, under circumstances such that the defendant knew or should have known that the information was to be used in connection with an application for bail, shall be accurate, truthful, and complete without omissions to the best knowledge of the defendant.
(b) The failure to comply with the provisions of paragraph (a) may result in the revocation or modification of bail.
(2) An application for modification of bail on any felony charge must be heard by a court in person, at a hearing with the defendant present, and with at least 3 hours’ notice to the state attorney.
(3) Any person who intentionally provides false or misleading material information or intentionally omits material information in connection with an application for bail or for modification of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony which is one degree less than that of the crime charged for which bail is sought, but which in no event is greater than a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 39, ch. 82-175; s. 41, ch. 84-103; s. 80, ch. 2004-265.
903.0351 Restrictions on pretrial release pending probation-violation hearing or community-control-violation hearing.
(1) In the instance of an alleged violation of felony probation or community control, bail or any other form of pretrial release shall not be granted prior to the resolution of the probation-violation hearing or the community-control-violation hearing to:
(a) A violent felony offender of special concern as defined in s. 948.06;
(b) A person who is on felony probation or community control for any offense committed on or after the effective date of this act and who is arrested for a qualifying offense as defined in s. 948.06(8)(c); or
(c) A person who is on felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a habitual violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(b), a three-time violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(c), or a sexual predator under s. 775.21, and who is arrested for committing a qualifying offense as defined in s. 948.06(8)(c) on or after the effective date of this act.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply where the alleged violation of felony probation or community control is based solely on the probationer or offender’s failure to pay costs or fines or make restitution payments.
History.s. 2, ch. 2007-2.
903.045 Nature of criminal surety bail bonds.It is the public policy of this state and the intent of the Legislature that a criminal surety bail bond, executed by a bail bond agent licensed pursuant to chapter 648 in connection with the pretrial or appellate release of a criminal defendant, shall be construed as a commitment by and an obligation upon the bail bond agent to ensure that the defendant appears at all subsequent criminal proceedings and otherwise fulfills all conditions of the bond. The failure of a defendant to appear at any subsequent criminal proceeding or the breach by the defendant of any other condition of the bond constitutes a breach by the bail bond agent of this commitment and obligation.
History.s. 40, ch. 82-175; s. 1475, ch. 97-102.
903.046 Purpose of and criteria for bail determination.
(1) The purpose of a bail determination in criminal proceedings is to ensure the appearance of the criminal defendant at subsequent proceedings and to protect the community against unreasonable danger from the criminal defendant.
(2) When determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be, the court shall consider:
(a) The nature and circumstances of the offense charged.
(b) The weight of the evidence against the defendant.
(c) The defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, and mental condition.
(d) The defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings. However, any defendant who had failed to appear on the day of any required court proceeding in the case at issue, but who had later voluntarily appeared or surrendered, shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond; and any defendant who failed to appear on the day of any required court proceeding in the case at issue and who was later arrested shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond or for any form of bond which does not require a monetary undertaking or commitment equal to or greater than $2,000 or twice the value of the monetary commitment or undertaking of the original bond, whichever is greater. Notwithstanding anything in this section, the court has discretion in determining conditions of release if the defendant proves circumstances beyond his or her control for the failure to appear. This section may not be construed as imposing additional duties or obligations on a governmental entity related to monetary bonds.
(e) The nature and probability of danger which the defendant’s release poses to the community.
(f) The source of funds used to post bail or procure an appearance bond, particularly whether the proffered funds, real property, property, or any proposed collateral or bond premium may be linked to or derived from the crime alleged to have been committed or from any other criminal or illicit activities. The burden of establishing the noninvolvement in or nonderivation from criminal or other illicit activity of such proffered funds, real property, property, or any proposed collateral or bond premium falls upon the defendant or other person proffering them to obtain the defendant’s release.
(g) Whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of a sentence.
(h) The street value of any drug or controlled substance connected to or involved in the criminal charge. It is the finding and intent of the Legislature that crimes involving drugs and other controlled substances are of serious social concern, that the flight of defendants to avoid prosecution is of similar serious social concern, and that frequently such defendants are able to post monetary bail using the proceeds of their unlawful enterprises to defeat the social utility of pretrial bail. Therefore, the courts should carefully consider the utility and necessity of substantial bail in relation to the street value of the drugs or controlled substances involved.
(i) The nature and probability of intimidation and danger to victims.
(j) Whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release.
(k) Any other facts that the court considers relevant.
(l) Whether the crime charged is a violation of chapter 874 or alleged to be subject to enhanced punishment under chapter 874. If any such violation is charged against a defendant or if the defendant is charged with a crime that is alleged to be subject to such enhancement, he or she shall not be eligible for release on bail or surety bond until the first appearance on the case in order to ensure the full participation of the prosecutor and the protection of the public.
(m) Whether the defendant, other than a defendant whose only criminal charge is a misdemeanor offense under chapter 316, is required to register as a sexual offender under s. 943.0435 or a sexual predator under s. 775.21; and, if so, he or she is not eligible for release on bail or surety bond until the first appearance on the case in order to ensure the full participation of the prosecutor and the protection of the public.
History.s. 41, ch. 82-175; s. 42, ch. 84-103; s. 4, ch. 86-151; s. 1476, ch. 97-102; s. 1, ch. 2000-178; s. 18, ch. 2008-238; s. 1, ch. 2013-214.
903.047 Conditions of pretrial release.
(1) As a condition of pretrial release, whether such release is by surety bail bond or recognizance bond or in some other form, the defendant shall:
(a) Refrain from criminal activity of any kind.
(b) Refrain from any contact of any type with the victim, except through pretrial discovery pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(c) Comply with all conditions of pretrial release.
(2) Upon motion by the defendant when bail is set, or upon later motion properly noticed pursuant to law, the court may modify the condition required by paragraph (1)(b) if good cause is shown and the interests of justice so require. The victim shall be permitted to be heard at any proceeding in which such modification is considered, and the state attorney shall notify the victim of the provisions of this subsection and of the pendency of any such proceeding.
History.s. 43, ch. 84-103; s. 12, ch. 84-363; s. 2, ch. 2006-279.
903.0471 Violation of condition of pretrial release.Notwithstanding s. 907.041, a court may, on its own motion, revoke pretrial release and order pretrial detention if the court finds probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release.
History.s. 3, ch. 2000-178.
903.05 Qualification of sureties.A surety for the release of a person on bail, other than a company authorized by law to act as a surety, shall be a resident of the state or own real estate within the state.
History.s. 48, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(48); s. 21, ch. 70-339.
903.06 Validity of undertaking by minor.Minors may bind themselves by a bond to secure their release on bail in the same manner as persons sui juris.
History.s. 49, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(49); s. 21, ch. 70-339.
903.08 Sufficiency of sureties.The combined net worth of the sureties, exclusive of any other bonds on which they may be principal, or surety and property exempt from execution, shall be at least equal to the amount specified in the undertaking.
History.s. 51, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(51); s. 22, ch. 70-339.
903.09 Justification of sureties.
(1) A surety shall execute an affidavit stating that she or he possesses the qualifications and net worth required to become a surety. The affidavit shall describe the surety’s property and any encumbrances and shall state the number and amount of any bonds entered into by the surety at any court that remain undischarged.
(2) A bond agent, as defined in s. 648.25(2), shall justify her or his suretyship by attaching a copy of the power of attorney issued by the company to the bond or by attaching to the bond United States currency, a United States postal money order, or a cashier’s check in the amount of the bond; but the United States currency, United States postal money order, or cashier’s check cannot be used to secure more than one bond. Nothing herein shall prohibit two or more qualified sureties from each posting any portion of a bond amount, and being liable for only that amount, so long as the total posted by all cosureties is equal to the amount of bond required.
History.s. 52, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(52); s. 1, ch. 57-63; s. 23, ch. 70-339; s. 44, ch. 84-103; s. 5, ch. 86-151; s. 1477, ch. 97-102; s. 1919, ch. 2003-261.
903.101 Sureties; licensed persons; to have equal access.Subject to rules adopted by the Department of Financial Services and by the Financial Services Commission, every surety who meets the requirements of ss. 903.05, 903.06, 903.08, and 903.09, and every person who is currently licensed by the Department of Financial Services and registered as required by s. 648.42 shall have equal access to the jails of this state for the purpose of making bonds.
History.s. 1, ch. 61-406; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 24, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 1920, ch. 2003-261.
1903.105 Appearance bonds.Any criminal defendant who is required to meet monetary bail or bail with any monetary component may satisfy such bail by providing a surety bond as otherwise provided by law or by providing an appearance bond as follows:
(1) Any defendant posting an appearance bond shall apply therefor in writing. Each defendant charged with a felony of the second degree or higher, and each defendant appearing before a court in connection with bail, shall sign the application upon oath in open court.
(2) After the application is completed and the quantity and other conditions of the bond are determined as required by law, the defendant may deposit with the clerk of the court before which the action is pending or with the sheriff, if designated by the clerk, a sum of money equal to 10 percent of the bond and any additional collateral for all or part of the remaining portion of the bond as the court may require.
(3) Upon depositing such sum and additional collateral and agreeing in writing to all nonmonetary conditions of the bond which the court may require, the defendant shall be released from custody subject to all conditions of release imposed by the court.
(4)(a) If the conditions of release have been performed and the defendant has been discharged from all obligations in the action, the clerk of the court shall return to the defendant, unless the court orders otherwise, 75 percent of the 10-percent sum deposited, plus any additional required collateral, and shall retain as bail costs 25 percent of the 10-percent sum deposited. At the request of the defendant, the court may order the amount repayable to the defendant from such deposit to be paid to the defendant’s attorney of record.
(b) Moneys retained by the clerk under this provision shall be disbursed as directed by the county commission for law enforcement, criminal justice, and criminal court operations relating to pretrial release, including, but not limited to, screening, supervision, and apprehension, subject to the following conditions:
1. The clerk must receive a sum equal to actual, demonstrable increased costs, if any, attributable to the implementation of this section.
2. Moneys distributed to the sheriff must be used for increased expenditures in connection with the apprehension of defendants who fail to appear as required.
(5) If a final judgment for a fine and court costs, or either a fine or court costs, is entered in an action in which a deposit has been made in accordance with this section, the balance of such deposit, after deduction of bail costs as provided for herein, shall be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment.
(6) In the event that this section becomes effective, the Supreme Court shall promulgate rules as necessary to implement this section.
History.s. 47, ch. 82-175.
1Note.Pursuant to s. 73, ch. 82-175, effective “if and only if chapter 648 . . . is . . . repealed, in which event [this] section shall take effect upon the effective date of such repeal.”
903.131 Bail on appeal, revocation; recommission.If a person admitted to bail on appeal commits and is convicted of a separate felony while free on appeal, the bail on appeal shall be revoked and the defendant committed forthwith.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-2.
903.132 Bail on appeal; conditions for granting; appellate review.
(1) No person may be admitted to bail upon appeal from a conviction of a felony unless the defendant establishes that the appeal is taken in good faith, on grounds fairly debatable, and not frivolous. However, in no case shall bail be granted if such person has previously been convicted of a felony, the commission of which occurred prior to the commission of the subsequent felony, and such person’s civil rights have not been restored or if other felony charges are pending against the person and probable cause has been found that the person has committed the felony or felonies at the time the request for bail is made.
(2) An order by a trial court denying bail to a person pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) may be appealed as a matter of right to an appellate court, and such appeal shall be advanced on the calendar of the appellate court for expeditious review.
(3) In no case may an original appearance bond be continued for the appeal. To reflect the increased risk and probability of longer time considerations, there shall be a new undertaking of a bond for the appeal.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-307; s. 1, ch. 76-138; s. 6, ch. 86-151; s. 1478, ch. 97-102.
903.133 Bail on appeal; prohibited for certain felony convictions.Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 903.132, no person adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree for a violation of s. 782.04(2) or (3), s. 787.01, s. 794.011(4), s. 806.01, s. 893.13, or s. 893.135, or adjudged guilty of a violation of s. 794.011(2) or (3), shall be admitted to bail pending review either by posttrial motion or appeal.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-72; s. 1, ch. 82-392; s. 1, ch. 83-83; s. 172, ch. 83-216; s. 8, ch. 88-381; s. 2, ch. 89-281; s. 2, ch. 90-225; s. 18, ch. 93-156; s. 10, ch. 99-188; s. 23, ch. 2000-320; s. 5, ch. 2001-236; s. 1, ch. 2002-212; s. 15, ch. 2005-128.
903.14 Contracts to indemnify sureties.
(1) A surety shall file with the bond an affidavit stating the amount and source of any security or consideration which the surety or anyone for his or her use has received or been promised for the bond. The affidavit may be filed in person or electronically.
(2) A surety may maintain an action against the indemnitor only on agreements set forth in the affidavit. In an action by the indemnitor to recover security or collateral, the surety shall have the right to retain only the security or collateral stated in the affidavit.
(3) A limited surety or licensed bond agent may file a statement in lieu of the affidavit required in subsection (1). Such statement must be filed within 30 days from the execution of the undertaking.
History.s. 57, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(57); s. 1, ch. 65-492; s. 1, ch. 69-151; s. 25, ch. 70-339; s. 1479, ch. 97-102; s. 6, ch. 2013-192.
903.16 Deposit of money or bonds as bail.
(1) A defendant who has been admitted to bail, or another person in the defendant’s behalf, may deposit with the official authorized to take bail money or nonregistered bonds of the United States, the state, or a city, town, or county in the state, equal in market value to the amount set in the order and the personal bond of the defendant and an undertaking by the depositor if the money or bonds are deposited by another. The sheriff or other officials may remit money or bonds received to the clerk to be held by the clerk pending court action or return to the defendant or depositor. The clerk shall accept money or bonds remitted by the sheriff.
(2) Consent is conclusively presumed for the clerk of the circuit court to sell bonds deposited as bail after forfeiture of the bond.
History.s. 59, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(59); s. 1, ch. 59-353; s. 26, ch. 70-339; s. 4, ch. 91-306; s. 1480, ch. 97-102.
903.17 Substitution of cash bail for other bail.When bail other than a deposit of money or bonds has been given, the defendant or the surety may deposit money or bonds as provided in s. 903.16 and have the original bond canceled.
History.s. 60, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(60); s. 27, ch. 70-339.
903.18 Bail after deposit of money or bonds.Bail by sureties may be substituted for a deposit of money or bonds as bail any time before a breach of the bond.
History.s. 61, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(61); s. 28, ch. 70-339.
903.20 Surrender of defendant.The defendant may surrender himself or herself or a surety may surrender the defendant any time before a breach of the bond.
History.s. 63, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(63); s. 29, ch. 70-339; s. 1481, ch. 97-102.
903.21 Method of surrender; exoneration of obligors.
(1) A surety desiring to surrender a defendant shall deliver a copy of the bond and the defendant to the official who had custody of the defendant at the time bail was taken or to the official into whose custody the defendant would have been placed if she or he had been committed. The official shall take the defendant into custody, as on a commitment, and issue a certificate acknowledging the surrender.
(2) When a surety presents the certificate and a copy of the bond to the court having jurisdiction, the court shall order the obligors exonerated and any money or bonds deposited as bail refunded. The surety shall give the state attorney 3 days’ notice of application for an order of exoneration and furnish the state attorney a copy of the certificate and bond.
(3) The surety shall be exonerated of liability on the bond if it is determined prior to breach of the bond that the defendant is in any jail or prison and the surety agrees in writing to pay the transportation cost of returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court. For purposes of this subsection, “jurisdiction” means within the judicial circuit as prescribed by law.
History.s. 64, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(64); s. 30, ch. 70-339; s. 34, ch. 73-334; s. 7, ch. 86-151; s. 1482, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 99-303.
903.22 Arrest of principal by surety before forfeiture.A surety may arrest the defendant before a forfeiture of the bond for the purpose of surrendering the defendant or the surety may authorize a peace officer to make the arrest by endorsing the authorization on a certified copy of the bond.
History.s. 65, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(65); s. 31, ch. 70-339; s. 1483, ch. 97-102.
903.26 Forfeiture of the bond; when and how directed; discharge; how and when made; effect of payment.
(1) A bail bond shall not be forfeited unless:
(a) The information, indictment, or affidavit was filed within 6 months from the date of arrest, and
(b) The clerk of court gave the surety at least 72 hours’ notice, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, before the time of the required appearance of the defendant. Notice shall not be necessary if the time for appearance is within 72 hours from the time of arrest, or if the time is stated on the bond. Such notice may be mailed or electronically transmitted.
(2)(a) If there is a breach of the bond, the court shall declare the bond and any bonds or money deposited as bail forfeited. The clerk of the court shall mail or electronically transmit a notice to the surety agent and surety company within 5 days after the forfeiture. A certificate signed by the clerk of the court or the clerk’s designee, certifying that the notice required herein was mailed or electronically transmitted on a specified date and accompanied by a copy of the required notice, shall constitute sufficient proof that such mailing or electronic transmission was properly accomplished as indicated therein. If such mailing or electronic transmission was properly accomplished as evidenced by such certificate, the failure of the surety agent, of a company, or of a defendant to receive such notice shall not constitute a defense to such forfeiture and shall not be grounds for discharge, remission, reduction, set aside, or continuance of such forfeiture. The forfeiture shall be paid within 60 days of the date the notice was mailed or electronically transmitted.
(b) Failure of the defendant to appear at the time, date, and place of required appearance shall result in forfeiture of the bond. Such forfeiture shall be automatically entered by the clerk upon such failure to appear, and the clerk shall follow the procedures outlined in paragraph (a). However, the court may determine, in its discretion, in the interest of justice, that an appearance by the defendant on the same day as required does not warrant forfeiture of the bond; and the court may direct the clerk to set aside any such forfeiture which may have been entered. Any appearance by the defendant later than the required day constitutes forfeiture of the bond, and the court shall not preclude entry of such forfeiture by the clerk.
(c) If there is a breach of the bond, the clerk shall provide, upon request, a certified copy of the warrant or capias to the bail bond agent or surety company.
(3) Sixty days after the forfeiture notice has been mailed or electronically transmitted:
(a) State and county officials having custody of forfeited money shall deposit the money in the fine and forfeiture fund established pursuant to s. 142.01.
(b) Municipal officials having custody of forfeited money shall deposit the money in a designated municipal fund.
(c) Officials having custody of bonds as authorized by s. 903.16 shall transmit the bonds to the clerk of the circuit court who shall sell them at market value and disburse the proceeds as provided in paragraphs (a) and (b).
(4)(a) When a bond is forfeited, the clerk shall transmit the bond and any affidavits to the clerk of the circuit court in which the bond and affidavits are filed. The clerk of the circuit court shall record the forfeiture in the deed or official records book. If the undertakings and affidavits describe real property in another county, the clerk shall transmit the bond and affidavits to the clerk of the circuit court of the county where the property is located who shall record and return them.
(b) The bond and affidavits shall be a lien on the real property they describe from the time of recording in the county where the property is located for 2 years or until the final determination of an action instituted thereon within a 2-year period. If an action is not instituted within 2 years from the date of recording, the lien shall be discharged. The lien will be discharged 2 years after the recording even if an action was instituted within 2 years unless a lis pendens notice is recorded in the action.
(5) The court shall discharge a forfeiture within 60 days upon:
(a) A determination that it was impossible for the defendant to appear as required due to circumstances beyond the defendant’s control. The potential adverse economic consequences of appearing as required shall not be considered as constituting a ground for such a determination;
(b) A determination that, at the time of the required appearance, the defendant was adjudicated insane and confined in an institution or hospital or was confined in a jail or prison;
(c) Surrender or arrest of the defendant if the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. If the forfeiture has been before discharge, the court shall direct remission of the forfeiture. The court shall condition a discharge or remission on the payment of costs and the expenses incurred by an official in returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court.
(6) The discharge of a forfeiture shall not be ordered for any reason other than as specified herein.
(7) The payment by a surety of a forfeiture under the provisions of this law shall have the same effect on the bond as payment of a judgment.
(8) If the defendant is arrested and returned to the county of jurisdiction of the court prior to judgment, the clerk, upon affirmation by the sheriff or the chief correctional officer, shall, without further order of the court, discharge the forfeiture of the bond. However, if the surety agent fails to pay the costs and expenses incurred in returning the defendant to the county of jurisdiction, the clerk shall not discharge the forfeiture of the bond. If the surety agent and the sheriff fail to agree on the amount of said costs, then the court, after notice to the sheriff and the state attorney, shall determine the amount of the costs.
History.s. 69, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(69); s. 1, ch. 59-354; s. 2, ch. 61-406; s. 2, ch. 65-492; s. 1, ch. 69-150; s. 32, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 77-388; s. 58, ch. 82-175; s. 173, ch. 83-216; s. 8, ch. 86-151; s. 1484, ch. 97-102; s. 4, ch. 99-303; s. 4, ch. 2000-178; s. 81, ch. 2004-265; s. 55, ch. 2005-236; s. 7, ch. 2013-192.
903.27 Forfeiture to judgment.
(1) If the forfeiture is not paid or discharged by order of a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days and the bond is secured other than by money and bonds authorized in s. 903.16, the clerk of the circuit court for the county where the order was made shall enter a judgment against the surety for the amount of the penalty and issue execution. However, in any case in which the bond forfeiture has been discharged by the court of competent jurisdiction conditioned upon the payment by the surety of certain costs or fees as allowed by statute, the amount for which judgment may be entered may not exceed the amount of the unpaid fees or costs upon which the discharge had been conditioned. Judgment for the full amount of the forfeiture shall not be entered if payment of a lesser amount will satisfy the conditions to discharge the forfeiture. Within 10 days, the clerk shall furnish the Department of Financial Services and the Office of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission with a certified copy of the judgment docket and shall furnish the surety company at its home office a copy of the judgment, which shall include the power of attorney number of the bond and the name of the executing agent. If the judgment is not paid within 35 days, the clerk shall furnish the Department of Financial Services, the Office of Insurance Regulation, and the sheriff of the county in which the bond was executed, or the official responsible for operation of the county jail, if other than the sheriff, two copies of the judgment and a certificate stating that the judgment remains unsatisfied. When and if the judgment is properly paid or an order to vacate the judgment has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction, the clerk shall immediately notify the sheriff, or the official responsible for the operation of the county jail, if other than the sheriff, and the Department of Financial Services and the Office of Insurance Regulation, if the department and office had been previously notified of nonpayment, of such payment or order to vacate the judgment. The clerk may furnish documents or give notice as required in this subsection by mail or electronic means. The clerk shall also immediately prepare and record in the public records a satisfaction of the judgment or record the order to vacate judgment. If the defendant is returned to the county of jurisdiction of the court, whenever a motion to set aside the judgment is filed, the operation of this section is tolled until the court makes a disposition of the motion.
(2) A certificate signed by the clerk of the court or her or his designee, certifying that the notice required in subsection (1) was mailed or electronically delivered on a specified date, and accompanied by a copy of the required notice constitutes sufficient proof that such mailing or electronic delivery was properly accomplished as indicated therein. If such mailing or electronic delivery was properly accomplished as evidenced by such certificate, the failure of a company to receive a copy of the judgment as prescribed in subsection (1) does not constitute a defense to the forfeiture and is not a ground for the discharge, remission, reduction, set aside, or continuance of such forfeiture.
(3) Surety bail bonds may not be executed by a bail bond agent against whom a judgment has been entered which has remained unpaid for 35 days and may not be executed for a company against whom a judgment has been entered which has remained unpaid for 50 days. No sheriff or other official who is empowered to accept or approve surety bail bonds shall accept or approve such a bond executed by such a bail bond agent or executed for such a company until such judgment has been paid.
(4) After notice of judgment against the surety given by the clerk of the circuit court, the surety or bail bond agent shall, within 35 days of the entry of judgment, submit to the clerk of the circuit court an amount equal to the judgment, unless the judgment has been set aside by the court within 35 days of the entry of judgment. If a motion to set aside the judgment has been filed pursuant to subsection (5), the amount submitted shall be held in escrow until such time as the court has disposed of the motion. The failure to comply with the provisions of this subsection constitutes a failure to pay the judgment.
(5) After notice of judgment against the surety given by the clerk of the circuit court, the surety or bail bond agent may within 35 days file a motion to set aside the judgment or to stay the judgment. It shall be a condition of any such motion and of any order to stay the judgment that the surety pay the amount of the judgment to the clerk, which amount shall be held in escrow until such time as the court has disposed of the motion to set aside the judgment. The filing of such a motion, when accompanied by the required escrow deposit, shall act as an automatic stay of further proceedings, including execution, until the motion has been heard and a decision rendered by the court.
(6) The failure of a state attorney to file, or of the clerk of the circuit court to make, a certified copy of the order of forfeiture as required by law applicable prior to July 1, 1982, shall not invalidate any judgment entered by the clerk prior to June 12, 1981.
History.s. 70, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(70); ss. 3, 24, ch. 61-406; s. 3, ch. 65-492; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-149; s. 33, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 173, ch. 71-355; s. 34, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 81-47; s. 59, ch. 82-175; s. 2, ch. 83-83; s. 45, ch. 84-103; s. 9, ch. 86-151; s. 88, ch. 89-360; s. 1485, ch. 97-102; s. 5, ch. 99-303; s. 1921, ch. 2003-261; s. 3, ch. 2006-279; s. 8, ch. 2013-192.
903.28 Remission of forfeiture; conditions.
(1) On application within 2 years from forfeiture, the court shall order remission of the forfeiture if it determines that there was no breach of the bond.
(2) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 90 days after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court and the state attorney as required in subsection (8), shall direct remission of up to, but not more than, 100 percent of a forfeiture if the surety apprehended and surrendered the defendant or if the apprehension or surrender of the defendant was substantially procured or caused by the surety, or the surety has substantially attempted to procure or cause the apprehension or surrender of the defendant, and the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. In addition, remission shall be granted when the surety did not substantially participate or attempt to participate in the apprehension or surrender of the defendant when the costs of returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court have been deducted from the remission and when the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant.
(3) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 180 days after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court and the state attorney as required in subsection (8), shall direct remission of up to, but not more than, 95 percent of a forfeiture if the surety apprehended and surrendered the defendant or if the apprehension or surrender of the defendant was substantially procured or caused by the surety, or the surety has substantially attempted to procure or cause the apprehension or surrender of the defendant, and the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. In addition, remission shall be granted when the surety did not substantially participate or attempt to participate in the apprehension or surrender of the defendant when the costs of returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court have been deducted from the remission and when the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant.
(4) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 270 days after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court and the state attorney as required in subsection (8), shall direct remission of up to, but not more than, 90 percent of a forfeiture if the surety apprehended and surrendered the defendant or if the apprehension or surrender of the defendant was substantially procured or caused by the surety, or the surety has substantially attempted to procure or cause the apprehension or surrender of the defendant, and the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. In addition, remission shall be granted when the surety did not substantially participate or attempt to participate in the apprehension or surrender of the defendant when the costs of returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court have been deducted from the remission and when the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant.
(5) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 1 year after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court and the state attorney as required in subsection (8), shall direct remission of up to, but not more than, 85 percent of a forfeiture if the surety apprehended and surrendered the defendant or if the apprehension or surrender of the defendant was substantially procured or caused by the surety, or the surety has substantially attempted to procure or cause the apprehension or surrender of the defendant, and the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. In addition, remission shall be granted when the surety did not substantially participate or attempt to participate in the apprehension or surrender of the defendant when the costs of returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court have been deducted from the remission and when the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant.
(6) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 2 years after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court and the state attorney as required in subsection (8), shall direct remission of up to, but not more than, 50 percent of a forfeiture if the surety apprehended and surrendered the defendant or if the apprehension or surrender of the defendant was substantially procured or caused by the surety, or the surety has substantially attempted to procure or cause the apprehension or surrender of the defendant, and the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. In addition, remission shall be granted when the surety did not substantially participate or attempt to participate in the apprehension or surrender of the defendant when the costs of returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court have been deducted from the remission and when the delay has not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant.
(7) The remission of a forfeiture may not be ordered for any reason other than as specified herein.
(8) An application for remission must be accompanied by affidavits setting forth the facts on which it is founded; however, the surety must establish by further documentation or other evidence any claimed attempt at procuring or causing the apprehension or surrender of the defendant before the court may order remission based upon an attempt to procure or cause such apprehension or surrender. The clerk of the circuit court and the state attorney must be given 20 days’ notice before a hearing on an application and be furnished copies of all papers, applications, and affidavits. Remission shall be granted on the condition of payment of costs, unless the ground for remission is that there was no breach of the bond.
(9) The clerk of the circuit court may enter into a contract with a private attorney or into an interagency agreement with a governmental agency to represent the clerk of the court in an action for the remission of a forfeiture under this section.
(10) The clerk of the circuit court is the real party in interest for all appeals arising from an action for the remission of a forfeiture under this section.
History.ss. 71, 73, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(71), (73); s. 2, ch. 59-354; ss. 4, 6, ch. 61-406; s. 4, ch. 65-492; s. 34, ch. 70-339; s. 34, ch. 73-334; s. 60, ch. 82-175; s. 174, ch. 83-216; s. 46, ch. 84-103; s. 10, ch. 86-151; s. 6, ch. 99-303; s. 82, ch. 2004-265; s. 56, ch. 2005-236.
903.286 Return of cash bond; requirement to withhold unpaid fines, fees, court costs; cash bond forms.
(1) Notwithstanding s. 903.31(2), the clerk of the court shall withhold from the return of a cash bond posted on behalf of a criminal defendant by a person other than a bail bond agent licensed pursuant to chapter 648 sufficient funds to pay any unpaid costs of prosecution, costs of representation as provided by ss. 27.52 and 938.29, court fees, court costs, and criminal penalties. If sufficient funds are not available to pay all unpaid costs of prosecution, costs of representation as provided by ss. 27.52 and 938.29, court fees, court costs, and criminal penalties, the clerk of the court shall immediately obtain payment from the defendant or enroll the defendant in a payment plan pursuant to s. 28.246.
(2) All cash bond forms used in conjunction with the requirements of s. 903.09 must prominently display a notice explaining that all funds are subject to forfeiture and withholding by the clerk of the court for the payment of costs of prosecution, costs of representation as provided by ss. 27.52 and 938.29, court fees, court costs, and criminal penalties on behalf of the criminal defendant regardless of who posted the funds.
History.s. 57, ch. 2005-236; s. 3, ch. 2008-224; s. 1, ch. 2013-112.
903.29 Arrest of principal by surety after forfeiture.Within 2 years from the date of forfeiture of a bond, the surety may arrest the principal for the purpose of surrendering the principal to the official in whose custody she or he was at the time bail was taken or in whose custody the principal would have been placed had she or he been committed.
History.s. 72, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(72); s. 1, ch. 59-192; s. 5, ch. 61-406; s. 5, ch. 65-492; s. 35, ch. 70-339; s. 47, ch. 84-103; s. 11, ch. 86-151; s. 1486, ch. 97-102.
903.31 Canceling the bond.
(1) Within 10 business days after the conditions of a bond have been satisfied or the forfeiture discharged or remitted, the court shall order the bond canceled and, if the surety has attached a certificate of cancellation to the original bond, the clerk of the court shall mail or electronically furnish an executed certificate of cancellation to the surety without cost. An adjudication of guilt or innocence, an acquittal, or a withholding of an adjudication of guilt shall satisfy the conditions of the bond. The original appearance bond shall expire 36 months after such bond has been posted for the release of the defendant from custody. This subsection does not apply to cases in which a bond has been declared forfeited.
(2) The original appearance bond does not guarantee deferred sentences, appearance during or after a presentence investigation, appearance during or after appeals, conduct during or appearance after admission to a pretrial intervention program, payment of fines, or attendance at educational or rehabilitation facilities the court otherwise provides in the judgment. If the original appearance bond has been forfeited or revoked, the bond shall not be reinstated without approval from the surety on the original bond.
(3) In any case where no formal charges have been brought against the defendant within 365 days after arrest, the court shall order the bond canceled unless good cause is shown by the state.
History.s. 74, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(74); s. 2, ch. 59-192; s. 36, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 80-230; s. 12, ch. 86-151; s. 89, ch. 89-360; s. 7, ch. 99-303; s. 4, ch. 2000-229; s. 4, ch. 2006-279; s. 9, ch. 2013-192.
903.32 Defects in bond.
(1) A bond shall not be held invalid because of any irregularity if it was taken by a legally authorized official and states the place of appearance and the amount of bail.
(2) If no day, or an impossible day, is stated in a bond for the defendant’s appearance before a trial court judge for a hearing or trial, the defendant shall be bound to appear 10 days after receipt of notice to appear by the defendant, the defendant’s counsel, or any surety on the undertaking.
History.s. 75, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(75); s. 37, ch. 70-339; s. 1487, ch. 97-102; s. 31, ch. 2004-11; s. 18, ch. 2013-25.
903.33 Bail not discharged for certain defects.The liability of a surety shall not be affected by his or her lack of any qualifications required by law, any agreement not expressed in the undertakings, or the failure of the defendant to join in the bond.
History.s. 76, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(76); s. 38, ch. 70-339; s. 1488, ch. 97-102.
903.34 Who may admit to bail.In criminal actions instituted or pending in any state court, bonds given by defendants before trial until appeal shall be approved by a committing trial court judge or the sheriff. Appeal bonds shall be approved as provided in s. 924.15.
History.s. 77, ch. 19554, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8663(77); s. 39, ch. 70-339; s. 32, ch. 2004-11.
903.36 Guaranteed arrest bond certificates as cash bail.
(1) A guaranteed traffic arrest bond certificate provided for in s. 627.758 shall be accepted as bail in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for the appearance of the person named in the certificate in any court to answer for the violation of a provision of chapter 316 or a similar traffic law or ordinance, except driving while under the influence of intoxicants, or any felony.
(2) The execution of a bail bond by a licensed general lines agent of a surety insurer for the automobile club or association member identified in the guaranteed traffic arrest bond certificate, as provided in s. 627.758(4), shall be accepted as bail in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the appearance of the person named in the certificate in any court to answer for the violation of a provision of chapter 316 or a similar traffic law or ordinance, except driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances, as prohibited by s. 316.193. Presentation of the guaranteed traffic arrest bond certificate and a power of attorney from the surety insurer for its licensed general lines agents is authorization for such agent to execute the bail bond.
(3) Automobile clubs and associations shall list the names and addresses of the licensed general lines agents of a surety insurer that may execute bail bonds pursuant to subsection (2) in a given area, which list shall be filed with the law enforcement agencies and court clerks in the area.
(4) The provisions of s. 903.045 applicable to bail bond agents shall apply to surety insurers and their licensed general lines agents who execute bail bonds pursuant to this section.
History.s. 2, ch. 26897, 1951; s. 40, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 77-119; s. 2, ch. 85-48; s. 24, ch. 86-296; s. 2, ch. 88-309; s. 1489, ch. 97-102.