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Richard Ansara Attorney at Law

FAQ's: Domestic Violence

Will I get a Bond if Arrested for Domestic Violence?

The short answer is: it depends. Bond on a domestic violence related charge must be approved and set by a magistrate Judge. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties now require a criminal defendant charged with a domestic violence offense to see a magistrate judge (usually within 24 hours) in order to approve and set bond amounts as well as any other conditions the magistrate judge deems appropriate. In the past bond amounts were pre-determined by the "County Bond Schedule." This allowed those charged with domestic violence cases to immediately post bond without seeing a magistrate judge. To date all three counties have abolished the county bond schedule and now require those arrested for domestic violence related charges to appear before a magistrate judge in order to have a bond hearing (also referred to as a "first appearance" or "magistrate" hearing.)

This change allowed the system to have substantially more control over the release process. Now the Office of the State Attorney will be able to argue to the magistrate judge whether a domestic violence criminal defendant is entitled to a bond, the amount of bond that they seek, as well as any additional conditions they wish to be imposed. The prosecutor will have an opportunity to dig into any previous criminal history and inform the magistrate judge of any aggravating circumstances about you and/or your case that they believe relevant to the Court when determining whether to set bond or keep you in custody.

This is why it is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you during this process. A smart criminal defense attorney will know how to best to present you in the light most favorable while the court considers whether to release you and what conditions (if any) to impose if they decide to grant you a bond. Experience is key here in the sense that you need to be able to identify who your judge is and what it is that they generally appreciate and do not appreciate when arguing for bond. I have seen several situations where defense attorneys arguing for bond are either unable to turn a negative into a positive or don't know when to shut up. I have seen other lawyers hurt their clients simply because they do not know when to stop talking.

Special conditions generally requested by the Office of the State Attorney are "No Contact Orders." These no contact orders will prevent a criminal defendant from having any direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim(s). If a criminal defendant is found to have violated this condition the State will request that the bond be revoked. If the judge grants this motion you will be forced to remain in custody until your case is disposed. This can be several months or even years in custody so it is important to abide by the conditions set by the Court when setting bond. Even if the alleged victim is the one calling you and coming to your home you will still be in violation of the court no contact order and suffer the consequences so be warned. No contact orders can make a domestic violence arrest all the more complicated because these orders can often prevent you from returning to your residence and/or speaking and having contact with your children assuming they reside with the listed victim. Remember, we can always file a motion to vacate the no contact order with a different judge than the magistrate judge who initially ordered the no contact order.

Another judicially preferred method of releasing those arrested for domestic violence related charges is "Pre-Trial Release." Pre-trial release is essentially a form of probation that starts at the onset of your criminal case. Pre-trial release conditions can range from calling into your pre-trial supervision officer two times per week to home confinement with a GPS monitor. You will be subject to home inspections, travel restrictions, random drug testing, and several other conditions. If you violate any of the terms of pre-trial release, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your pre-trial supervising officer will submit a violation of pre-trial release report to the Judge and request you be taken back into custody immediately. This is why I generally prefer my clients not be on any form of pre-trial release. I would always prefer to have a client released on a straight monetary bond. When released on straight monetary bond you will not be monitored by anyone from the government, your travel will not be automatically restricted, and no one will be harassing you for random urine drug test with no concern whether you will lose your job if you are forced to leave work at a moments notice.

Domestic violence related offenses may be granted a bond only after seeing a judge and having a bond hearing. The outcome of that hearing will have dramatic impact over your freedom, where you can live, employment, and overall mental health. Having an attorney that knows how best to navigate domestic violence bond hearings is critical and time is of the essence. Remember that the bond hearing happens within 24 hours of arrest so if you or a loved one has been arrested on a domestic violence related charge such as assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, aggravated battery by strangulation, sexual assault, sexual battery stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, depriving caller 911, or any other domestic violence charge be sure to call the Ansara Law Firm immediately so we can guide you through these critical next steps.

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“Just wanted to say what a professional law firm "The Ansara Law Firm" was in handling my case and can't thank Richard enough for keeping me calm and letting me know the status of my case. You really do care about your clients and made me feel at ease during my legal issues!” Andy Austin
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