On Motion for a Reduction of Bond filed timely by a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney the court may insure the appearance of a Defendant with a signature bond based on a promise to pay if there is a nonappearance or a cash bond payed in advance of any appearance or with a property bond, also known as a secure bond.
In a typical case in the Federal District Court in Tampa a Federal Magistrate will look at the following factors to determine if bond should be reduced:
- Ties to the community. How long has the Defendant lived in the community? Does the Defendant have employment, own property and have family ties to the area?
- Risk of flight. Is there a likelihood that the Defendant will appear for his trial? Note that in Federal cases there is an automatic presumption of flight risk when the Defendant is charged with a significant amount of drugs. For example, if one is charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine or Trafficking in Cocaine, a minimum mandatory jail sentence is triggered as is the rebuttable presumption that the Defendant will attempt to flee.
- Risk of danger to the community or to the victim of the crime, if any.
This will rarely if ever free the Defendant,who after all, has been indicted by a Grand Jury that presumably has heard relevant evidence, but it may tend to show subtle problems with the charge.
For example, I once represented a too-trusting young middle class Canadian lady whose life was turned upside down when she was charged with Trafficking Drugs while she was in Tampa, Florida on vaction.
Under cross-examination during the Preliminary Hearing in the Middle District of Florida in Tampa that a Clearwater Criminal Federal Defense Lawyer demanded, the unprepared Case Agent from DEA testified that my client was actually not in the room when her boyfriend sold the drugs to a wired Confidential Informant. My client had gone into the bathroom. The Magistrate was clearly troubled and said so on the record, but could not reduce the bond; however, eventually the Government was forced to reduce the charge.