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Been Arrested for a Crime? You May Have to Forfeit Your Bond to Pay the Costs of Prosecution

New and amended Florida laws may require you forfeit your bail bond money to cover court and prosecution costs.

As of June 5, 2013, Florida amended four of its criminal statutes: F.S. §§903.286, 938.27, 985.032 and 985.455. The statutes dictate who pays the costs of prosecution including court costs, fees, criminal penalties and unpaid fines. The amended statutes also dictate that a juvenile must pay costs, fees and unpaid fines or serve community service.

  • F.S. §903.286 states that Florida will take costs, fees and unpaid fines from a posted cash bond if that cash bond was not posted by a bail bond company. If the bond is not enough to cover all of the monies due, the court will require that the defendant – the person charged – pay the balance. If the person cannot immediately pay the balance, the court will set up a payment plan.

The statute also states that when a defendant puts up a cash bond that the bond must have language notifying the defendant that he or she must pay the monies owed and that the bond will be forfeited and withheld by the court for payment.

  • F.S. §938.27 was amended to state that a judgment for the costs for investigation of and prosecution of violation of probation cases and criminal cases of convicted people will be entered for payment of the costs of prosecuting the case. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Law enforcement investigations
    • Arson investigation
    • The Department of Financial Services investigations
    • Office of Financial Regulation of the Financial Services Commission investigations

When the court drafts the judgment against the accused person, that judgment will include the previously mentioned costs. The court defines “convicted” as a person who has been found guilty or a person who has been found to have violated probation or community control, pled guilty or found guilty at trial or at a violation proceeding.

Even if a person cannot pay, the costs will be entered in the judgment and the accused will have to pay the monies due in a payment plan.

  • F.S. §985.032 states that a juvenile who has been found delinquent will be charged the costs.
  • F.S. §985.455 gives the court with jurisdiction over a delinquent minor the ability to order the child to perform community service if the child cannot pay the monies due for prosecution, costs of representation and public defender application fees.

If you have been arrested for a crime or a violation of probation, contact the Law Offices of Edwards and Jones so you have proper representation in your criminal case. The experienced criminal attorneys may be able to get your charges reduced or removed depending on the circumstances of your current charges and prior criminal history.