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Is It Worth Getting A Lawyer For A DUI?

driver with open bottle of alcohol in the seat beside him

Bail Bond for DUI

Florida is a spring break destination, a vacation destination, and a coastal city. These things bring people that want to party, relax, and often just “let it loose”. Meaning drinking and partying, and with that, the law enforcement is on constant watch for drivers’ DUI. Bail bond agents and agencies are always on standby. 

Is jail time mandatory for DUI?

No, a first-time DUI typically doesn’t get sentenced to jail time.  However, it is important to visitors that Pinellas County, Florida has a serious stance on DUI. The prosecution follows a strict zero-tolerance approach, which has earned the county acknowledgment of being one of the strictest counties. Between the years 2011 and 2017, over 90% of those arrested on DUI, bail posted, and court appearances ended up with a conviction or pleaded guilty. 

This doesn’t mean that a first-time DUI arrest in Pinellas County is hopeless with the services of an experienced DUI lawyer. For a first-time DUI arrest, you should request a lawyer, who will post your DUI bail and then guide you through the entire process. An experienced DUI lawyer will have several different strategies in an effort to avoid a DUI conviction or lessen the charges.

Is it better to refuse a DUI test?

With the zero tolerance stance in St. Petersburg, Florida, refusal to take a DUI test, like a breathalyzer, will get your driver’s license suspended for a minimum of 1 year. If it is your 2nd or 3rd DUI arrest, that suspension is a minimum of 18 months and possible jail time. 

After the arrest, you’ll be arraigned before a judge who will determine your DUI bail. With the bail amount set, your lawyer, family member, or friend can post your DUI bail. 

The possible downside to taking a DUI test will be the proof of your BAC (blood alcohol content). If it is over the legal limit, you could be sentenced with the following: 

  • License suspension
  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Required alcohol/drug education program

Possibly required to have an IID (ignition interlock device) installed in your car, at your expense. 

How do I choose a DUI lawyer?

If you are charged with a DUI, bail is going to be the first thing you’ll need to be concerned with. An experienced criminal defense lawyer with DUI expertise is who you need. They will guide you through the process, helping to keep your legal fees affordable and minimize the immediate expenses that typically follow an arrest. 

You should interview several lawyers, never assume the first one you talk to is the best one because they made you comfortable. If this is your first legal counsel encounter, you may easily be awestruck, but the more lawyers you speak to, you’ll begin to realize they are not all the same. You want a lawyer that will be hypervigilant about winning your DUI case. 

How do I choose a good DUI lawyer?

There are several indicators when a DUI lawyer isn’t the best one to choose. The first immediate sign of a bad DUI lawyer is when they urge you to take a fast guilty plea and accept a “DUI supervision”. A bad DUI lawyer will convince you this is a better option because you’ll pay less in fines. 

This plea ‘earns’ the DUI lawyer the retainer fee with a minimum amount of effort to fight for dismissal and minimum effort to communicate with you what is happening. By the time you realize this, it is too late. You are now under court supervision. 

As you interview different DUI lawyers, these are the things that you should follow to get a good DUI lawyer: 

Ask questions – never let a DUI lawyer make you uncomfortable about asking questions. This is a life-changing event for you and a good lawyer will understand your concerns. Not sure what questions should I ask a DUI lawyer? The following questions are recommended: 

  • Can my case be kept off the records? 
  • How many DUI cases have you tried before? 
  • What is your legal defense strategy to win cases like this? 
  • Is DUI  your specialty or do have other types of cases?

Roundabout answers – if the lawyer you’re interviewing never really answers your questions, they are probably going to be vague in court before the judge and jury too. 

Legal costs – a good DUI attorney should be able to tell you what your legal expenses are going to be for this entire process. You don’t need surprise bills when this is all over with, so request a written list of what you should expect to pay and when including starting with your DUI bail. 

Stay informed – good communication is critical in DUI cases. An ethical and honorable  DUI lawyer will be in constant contact with you about your case. They will take your calls or return your calls in a reasonable time. 

What do DUI lawyers look for?

Experienced DUI lawyers will have a variety of legal strategies after your DUI bail has been posted. Many DUI lawyers will immediately recommend you take a DUI/Drug driving course or submit to a counseling session. These are things that are typically conditions a judge will require, if you’ve already completed these, it shines well in your favor. 

After your DUI lawyer completes their review of your arrest record, police report, and any audio/video recordings, they will request an amendment to your charges or a reduction of the charges. A reduction may be a reckless driving charge instead of a DUI charge. 

  • The things a DUI lawyer looks for in this research process are: 
  • Was the stop done with a proper cause?
  • Was the arrest handled properly?
  • Were there problems with the DUI testing?

Each of these can be a defense for your DUI charges that if your lawyer can find an error or fault lead to immediate dismissal or at least a reduction of the DUI charge. 

How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

Your immediate expense will be your DUI bail bond.  Whatever the bail amount the judge rules, your DUI bail bond will typically be 10% of the amount through a bail bond agent or agency. If you pay the court direct, it will be the full amount.

For an experienced DUI lawyer, you can expect the total cost to be around $8,000 to $10,000  for the attorney part only.  There will be court fines to pay, which your DUI lawyer should give in the written statement we mentioned earlier. What if I can’t afford an attorney for DUI? As stated in Miranda Rights upon your arrest, one will be assigned to you. 

Other costs afterward could be loss of job, which can lead to other things, like loss of family and friends. Your community reputation will be affected, and any future employment may be difficult, especially if driving is involved. 

a car key with handcuffs and two glasses of alcohol sitting beside it

How long can a DUI case stay open?

In Florida, a DUI case can take up to six months to get a court date. If you are convicted on the DUI charges, they will stay on your criminal record forever. It will also go on your driving record forever. This will be another expense you can expect – higher insurance premiums. 

If you are in need of a bail bond for a DUI, give us a call at 727-571-9999.

Can drug charges be dropped?

marijuana buds on a black backdrop

Dealing With Drug Charges

As a coastal state, Florida is vulnerable to illegal drug trafficking. With that in mind, the state has implemented strict laws for drug charges. What the different levels and types of drug charges are can be confusing. When a person is arrested on drug charges, it is recommended to obtain legal counsel, but the following questions and answers can give some help.

What are the types of drug charges?

Drug charges typically involve illegal drugs. There are three degrees which drug charges are based on: 

  • The drug type
  • The amount/weight of the drug
  • The suspected intention of the drugs

In the state of Florida, common drug charges include the following: 

  • Possession
  • Fraudulent custody of a controlled substance
  • Intent to distribute
  • Drug trafficking
  • Delivery, selling, or combination of both
  • Attempted sale of controlled substance or illegal drugs
  • Possession of drug manufacturing equipment or drug paraphernalia 
  • Distribution of controlled substances or illegal drugs 
  • Manufacturing and cultivating illegal drugs

Common drug charges are typically the chemicals contained in, or the following drugs, listed in alphabetical order: 

  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines

Prescription drugs that include the following can also lead to drug charges.

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax

Do drug charges ever get dropped?

Yes, but you’ll want an experienced criminal drug defense attorney to represent you. They will know the ins and outs of the drug charges and the situation that surrounds the drug charges. The most common defense for drug charges is insufficient evidence, you’ll want that experience on your side. There are elements to every drug charge that the state prosecution will need to prove in order to get a conviction that sticks. 

Each of the elements have to be proven in a court of law, beyond a reasonable doubt as stated by the legal system. If any of the elements can’t be proven, then the drug charges must be dropped. 

Are all drug charges felonies?

Any possession of a controlled substance without a legal prescription is a crime in the state of Florida. The level of drug charges that a person may face will depend on a few different factors. Among those factors is the amount and type of drugs, and in several cases, drug charges for drug possession is classified as a felony, but there are some instances in which charges are classified a misdemeanor.

How many years do you get for drug charges?

Depending on the drug, Florida has five different schedules for controlled dangerous substances and illegal drugs they could be classified under that will determine the sentencing. The schedule types are listed as such: 

  • Schedule I: Drugs with a high potential for abuse that do not have an accepted medical use. This includes heroin and LSD.
  • Schedule II: Drugs with a high potential for abuse that may have an  accepted medical use under strict restrictions. This includes cocaine, morphine, and opium.
  • Schedule III: Drugs with a potential for less extent of abuse than Schedule I and Schedule II and have a possible medical use with a little chance of moderate physical or psychological dependence. Anabolic steroids fit under this schedule.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with a lower abuse potential than those already mentioned and have a medical purpose but can lead to physical or psychological abuse. Diazepam falls under this schedule. 
  • Schedule V: Drugs with a low abuse potential than the other scheduled drugs listed and have a medical purpose but can have the potential of being physical and psychological dependent. These are small doses of a narcotic drug. 

The amount of the drug will determine the severity of drug charges of possession. The penalties can vary as follows:

  • Over 10 grams of a Schedule I drug: First degree felony
    • Penalty: Maximum 30 years jail time and/or a maximum fine of $10,000
  • Over 10 grams of other controlled dangerous substance: Third degree felony
    • Penalty: Maximum 5 years prison and/or a maximum fine of $5,000
  • 20 grams of marijuana: First  degree misdemeanor.
    • Penalty: Maximum 1 year prison and/or maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Over 20 grams marijuana: Third degree felony
    • Penalty: Maximum of 5 years prison and/or maximum fine of $5,000.

Can felony drug charges be reduced?

A person with previous drug charges resulting in a felony conviction cannot have the drug charges expunged or removed. With experience and expertise, a criminal attorney with experience in drug charges may be able to get charges dropped if the person doesn’t have any previous record. 

Can drug possession charges be dropped?

Again, with an experienced criminal defense attorney, drug charges can be dropped if they are able to show the state doesn’t have adequate evidence. 

Can drug trafficking charges be reduced?

No, mandatory minimum sentencing is imposed with the state drug trafficking laws. However, an experienced criminal attorney with drug charges can get the sentencing lowered based on the person’s criminal record and the surrounding situation of the drug charges. If the drug charges are on school property or in the presence of a minor, getting the sentence lowered will be unlikely. 

How do you beat drug charges?

In Florida, the legal defenses used in most cases that can get drug charges dropped is if the defense attorney can prove the person charged was not in control of the drugs or didn’t have any knowledge of drugs being present. 

various kinds of drugs on a black table

When You Have Drug Charges – Who Do You call? 

So, to answer one final question. For your best bet of getting the drug charges dropped or getting the minimum sentencing possible, what type of lawyer handles drug charges? The answer here is simple. Find a criminal defense lawyer that has experience in drug charges. They will typically advertise themselves as such, but your local bail bond agency call often point you in the right direction as well.

What is domestic violence?

man verbally abusing a woman and young girl

Understanding Domestic Abuse

Today, when it comes to domestic violence, states are getting tougher and tougher on the accused. That includes the domestic violence arrest bail amount being increased with more stipulations attached. The hope is that doing so will make those who tend to commit domestic violence think before acting. 

What does “domestic violence” mean?

The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as repetitive abusive behavior in a relationship where one partner gains or maintains control over another partner. In earlier years, domestic violence was thought only to be between a husband and wife. Today, it is recognized that domestic violence is more widespread because it isn’t just wives that are subjected to domestic violence. Arrest bail can be set by a judge for domestic violence against any of the following: 

  • Spouses
  • Partners of Dating/Intimate/Sexual nature
  • Family members including children, in-laws, and relatives
  • Cohabitants

Who defines domestic violence?

In the State of Florida, domestic violence is defined and determined by the arresting officer and supported by state law when any person including a family member or household member commits any of the following against another family member or household member: 

  • Assault or Battery
  • Aggravated assault or battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Stalking/Aggravated stalking
  • False Imprisonment/Kidnapping
  • Any criminal offense causing physical injury or death 

What are some domestic violence examples? 

There are many types of domestic abuse arrest bails that are determined by the courts of Florida every day, including: 

  • Physical Domestic Abuse:  The actions that fall into this category include battering, biting, burning, cutting, hitting, hair pulling, pinching, punching, shoving, slapping, etc. Physical domestic abuse also includes denying a person medical treatment or forcing alcohol/drug use on another person. 
  • Sexual Domestic Abuse: This occurs when one person is coerced into having sexual behavior or contact without their consent by another person or when attempts at coercion are made. This could include an attack on sexual body parts, marital rape, physical violence with forced sex following, being sexually demeaned by another person, or being the subject or target of sexual jokes.
  • Emotional Domestic Abuse: This occurs when one person is deflating or invalidating a person’s self-esteem and/or self-worth. This can be done by constant criticism or name-calling, damaging the relationship between a partner and their children, or hindering another person’s abilities.
  • Economic Domestic Abuse:  This occurs when one person makes another person financially reliant by maintaining all control over financial resources, withholding access to funds, or prohibiting another person to work or attend school. 

Other forms of domestic violence arrest bail are known to be determined when there are psychological threats of hitting, injuring, or using a weapon; stalking by following the victim; harassing, spying, watching, or appearing without notice at one’s home or work; or phone calls, collecting information, sending gifts or written messages, and cyberstalking.  

Are domestic violence cases public record?

In the State of Florida, Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes states that it becomes public record when anyone with domestic violence is arrested and bail has been set by the courts. Domestic violence, or anything where state court proceedings are held, will become public record. The public records are available to anyone. 

What is the difference between domestic violence vs assault?

In Florida, domestic violence arrest and bail issued for an arrest are far-reaching as to what is considered domestic violence. As described above, domestic violence bail can be issued for not only assault and battery, but sex crimes, kidnapping, and stalking as well.

Under Florida law, actual physical acts of violence being committed can include nothing more than the threat of violence. Battery charges are possible when a person  “actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other, or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.”

Additional Notes On Domestic Violence

A judge in Florida will presume that custody of a child should be shared between both parents. Exceptions to this are if that situation would be unfavorable for the child – for example, one parent has been convicted of domestic violence, in which case that parent would not be given custody.  

Even if there hasn’t been a conviction, and only a domestic violence arrest with bail paid and the accused released, the judge will take into consideration any evidence of domestic violence, and child custody will be based accordingly.  

A felony domestic violence charge is warranted when certain types of domestic violence have occurred. Those types of crimes are as follows: 

  • Aggravated assault
  • Domestic battery by strangulation
  • Sexual battery
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment

A prior battery conviction can result in a felony charge with subsequent domestic violence violations.

woman being struck by a partner

Stopping Domestic Abuse

A concern all across the country with domestic violence arrests, bails posted, and the accused detained or released is how domestic violence affects the victim. There is no question that domestic violence has become a top health concern and issue in our country today. By understanding the definition of domestic violence, we can all be more effective in taking action against the many manifestations of domestic abuse. 

Often, an abuser doesn’t realize they are guilty of inflicting domestic violence on a loved one, just as a  victim doesn’t always take action against an abuser because they aren’t aware the behavior is domestic violence. Call us at 727-571-9999 to arrange domestic violence arrest bail in St. Petersburg, FL if you have found yourself in need of this service and you can begin the process of bettering yourself and giving your loved one the violence-free relationship you both deserve. 

Which attorney should I hire?

Suited man holding books and gavel.

Getting the Legal Help You Need

Most people think that attorneys are needed when you’re arrested, going through a divorce, or they are on one side or the other of a lawsuit. While those are probably the most common of all reasons, there are several other reasons you may need an attorney. There are attorneys that focus on one area of law, like a criminal law attorney or a corporate attorney. So when you do need one, finding one that specializes in your area of need is recommended.  

Attorneys vs Lawyers

First, let’s determine what the difference is between an attorney vs lawyer. Is an attorney and a lawyer the same thing? For universal purposes, in America, an attorney and a lawyer are the same thing. From a professional viewpoint though, there are differences, albeit subtle differences. A lawyer and an attorney must obtain the same education requirements and may be required to obtain their post-graduate degree of J.D. (Juris Doctorate). 

A lawyer and an attorney are admitted to the bar association and may represent clients as they practice law. A lawyer is a person that provides legal advice and can provide representation for legal matters. An attorney has graduated law school, received their J.D. and can represent a client in legal matters.

Well, that all sounds the same doesn’t it? An attorney will always be a lawyer, but a lawyer isn’t always going to be an attorney. Here are three factors that determine this difference:

  • A lawyer graduates law school.
  • An attorney who graduates law school will pass the bar and will practice law in the courtroom.
  • While a lawyer can give legal advice, they do not practice in a court of law. 

How do you talk to a lawyer?

An attorney or lawyer isn’t somebody we’re all just clamoring to talk to, but chances are at some point in your life, you’ll need to speak with one. While an attorney or lawyer will be well-versed (or should be), with navigating the legal system, the following tips will help you get the most from that legal service.

1. Be organized. Create a comprehensive story about the situation you’re having, making it as clear as possible. This should include all the details about the event or incident in a chronological order from start to finish. Creating a folder with all the relevant documents is a good idea, putting them in chronological order. If there are witnesses to your situation, provide names and phone numbers.

2. Details. Sometimes the story is in the minute details, like the weather. Any variable around or in your situation shouldn’t be omitted. At this point, your responsibility is to be the ears and eyes for your attorney or lawyer. 

3. Honest. Tell it like it was, plain and simple, lying is not something you want to do with your attorney or lawyer. They are on your side; you need to confide in them with open honesty. Don’t lie. Just like doctors have patient confidentiality, so do attorneys and lawyers with their clients. Be prepared and ready to explain everything to your attorney or lawyer, all the good, all the bad, and things you think may not be relevant. 

4. Clarification.  If the legal jargon and terms confuse you, you’re not the only one, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. The law can be confusing and that makes it intimidating, so if you don’t understand, ask questions. The only dumb question is one that you don’t ask! 

5. Keep Information Flowing. Things can change in legal matters and if anything changes on your end, letting your attorney or lawyer now ASAP is important. No matter how small the change, they need to be apprised. 

Which attorney do I need?

The legal field is massive. The legal field is complex. If you need an attorney, you want to make sure you hire an attorney that is specialized in that area. Here are the most commonly used attorneys and lawyers: 

  • Personal Injury 

You want a personal injury attorney when you have been injured in an accident. They will know the process and how to navigate it to get you the best compensation possible. 

  • Estate Planning 

This attorney is the one you need for drawing up wills and trusts so that your assets are distributed as you want and to make sure your loved ones are financially taken care of. 

  • Bankruptcy 

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy due to financial difficulties, a bankruptcy attorney can provide you with the information you need to know about the process and repercussions. They can determine your eligibility and which bankruptcy type is best for your situation. 

  • Intellectual Property 

An intellectual property attorney will advise you on the issues related to intellectual property in regard to copyrights, industrial design, patent, trade secrets, and trademarks.

  • Employment 

From the company side or the employee side, when there are legal matters within the workplace, this is the attorney you need. 

  • Corporate 

Any person that owns a corporation will find a corporate attorney is necessary at many different times. This is true from forming the corporation and general corporate governance issues to corporate compliance issues.

  • Immigration

The immigration laws are changing almost daily and there is no better way to navigate this area than to hire an immigration attorney, whether it is for asylum, citizenship, green card, refugee, or other matters. 

Other specialties in law are criminal attorneys, medical malpractice, tax attorney, and family attorney. Worker’s compensation and contract attorneys, civil litigation, and social security disability, and last but not least, General Practice attorneys. This is often the first attorney most people will reach out to if they aren’t sure what type of attorney they need. A good GP attorney will refer you to a specialized attorney if they feel you will be better served. 

How do I find a pro bono lawyer?

A Pro Bono attorney or lawyer is one that will take on a case at no cost to the client or any organization. There is a difference between a Pro Bono attorney and one that works for a legal aid organization. 

The attorneys that work with legal aid organizations are paid by funds from organizations like justice foundations. A Pro Bono attorney or lawyer is not paid anything by anyone. 

To find a Pro Bono attorney, contacting a program that specializes in this area is the best way. There are non-profit organizations, local bar associations, and others that encourage attorneys to donate their time as a way of giving back to their community. The medical profession has the same type of programs for doctors. 

Law scales on a wooden table.

Ready To Get Started? 

If you’re needing an attorney and you’re wondering, “How do I find an attorney in my area?”, the internet is a great tool. Simply enter “Lawyers near me” and the algorithms will give you pages of suggestions. You want to choose one that is specialized in the area of the law you’re needing. The team at Al Estes Bail Bonds can also help you learn more about getting an attorney in St. Petersburg, FL when you call 727-571-9999.

What Are the Four Types of Bail?

bail bond building

What does a $10000 bail mean?

Anyone that doesn’t know what bail bonds are for or why they are needed are fortunate. Many people know too well, either for themselves or because they’ve helped somebody else out before. Bail bonds for drug charges and public intoxication may be the two most common types of bail bonds, but there are other types, maybe less required, but till exist. 

First, let’s describe what bail is, then we’ll answer that question. A simp way to explain bail, it is an agreement between a defendant and the court that the defendant will appear for all court ordered appearances. 

The arraignment judge will set the bail at a specific amount, in this case we’ll use $10,000 as the bail amount. The defendant must pay that amount before they can be released from custody. If the defendant doesn’t appear in court as ordered, or misses any court ordered appearances, they lose that $10,000 they paid to be released. 

If they hired a bail bond agent to post their bail bonds for drug charges or any other charges, the bond agent will go looking for them. There have been television shows with the main character being the bail bond agent. 

What is an alternative to bail?

Currently, the American bail system is under fire and be re-examined by every state in the Union. Why? Because when a defendant doesn’t have the money or can afford to hire a bail bondsman, they remain incarcerated until their trial. 

Many states today have way to get out of jail without posting bail, the Own Recognizance Release. The defendant is required to sign an agreement with the court that states they will return for court appearance as required and they do not have to pay any money. 

 This is not a “get out of jail free” card, because there are conditions set by the deciding judge. If the defendant doesn’t appear before the courts, a bench warrant is issued. 

What are the 7 types of bail?

Each bail listed here has its own purpose with different regulations and rules. A criminal defense attorney can better explain these differences in detail and advise the best one for a defendant: 

  • Surety Bond: A bail bond agent pays the full bail with a contract between them and the defendant it will be paid back by the defendant within a certain time frame and will appear for all court ordered appearances.  The defendant will pay the bail bond agent a fee, typically 10% of the bail amount, upfront. This is type of bail bonds for drug charges or other charges that most are familiar. 
  • Cash Bail Bonds: This type of bail bone is when the defendant, or somebody on  behalf of the defendant, pays the full bail amount in cash. This is the fastest way to be released from jail and if all court required appearances and other requirements are met, the full amount less any court fees, is returned.
  • Property Bonds: A property bond is not a legal bond and is not accepted in all states. These are known as a property collateral bond meaning, that the property put up for bail is at risk if the defendant doesn’t appear for all court dates.  A Surety Bonds is completed within a few hours whereas a property bond can take weeks because the property must be inspected then evaluated with paperwork to follow. 
  • Citation Release Bond: This type of bond is the decision of the arresting officer and is a legal citation that must be paid in full.
  • Recognizance Release: This is when a judge determines the defendant can be released on their own recognizance, meaning they are being trusted without any financial backing. It is believed they are a person of good standing in their community and will appear as required or all court dates.
  • Immigration Bail Bond: This is like a standard bail but issued to immigrants that have broken the law and are not in the United States legally. This type of bond is difficult and challenging to complete. The assistance of an immigration lawyer is recommended. 
  • Federal Bail Bond: Another bond that is similar to the standard bail bond but issued for federal crimes. They can be difficult to navigate and the guidance of an attorney with federal law experience is recommended. 

What are the four types of bail?

The reigning judge will set the  bail amount at the defendants initial hearing. Factors the judge takes into consideration in setting this bail amount the following, especially when bail bonds for drug charges is in question: 

  • Criminal background
  • Current charges
  • Flight risk

The judge can also use those factor to deny bail. Once bail has been set, the defendant can use any of the following 4 methods to post bond:.

  • Cash Bail – the defendant or somebody on their behalf can post cash bail. Bail can be high, such as bail bonds for drug charges and most people do not have this kind of cash laying around. 
  • Collateral Bail – this is when real property is used for bond like firearms, homes, jewelry, land, vehicles, or anything of value. 
  • PR Bond – a person recognizance bond is given to a defendant that has a trustworthy reputation and the arrest was for a nonviolent crime.
  • Bail Bondsman – this is the most common of all bail bond methods, including bail bonds for drug charges. A family member or friend will contact a bail bond agent and pay a fee, typically 10% o the bone amount, and the defendant is released until their assigned court date. 

How much is bail for a drug charge?

In some counties of Florida, bail bonds for drug charges can vary based on what type and how much of a drug was involved. An arrest for 10 grams of marijuana is a 1st degree misdemeanor in some counties with a $500 bond. A drug arrest for more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony with bail bonds for drug charges ranging between $10,000 and $100,000.

How much is bail bond for public intoxication?

The blood alcohol content is a deciding factor when a judge is stating the bail. If no property was damaged and the arrested driver has a BAC of .08%, the typical bail is $500. A  driver facing their 3rd public intoxication charges could be given a $10,000 bail.

gavel and money

Where does bail bond money go?

Well, if the defendant makes all court appearances and has no other arrests or issues, they will get the bail bond money back in full, minus court fees.  However, if the defendant doesn’t make all their required court dates and other requirements, they are arrested and placed in jail. Then any monies they paid will be kept by the courts and divided up between the city and county. Call 727-571-9999 today for your bail bonds needs in St. Petersburg, FL.

How Serious Is an Assault Charge?

men fighting after a fender bender

How will assault charge affect me? 

Assault charges may not seem profoundly serious, but any time you’re arrested, it is serious. Even the most minor cause for assault charges will result in consequences that can affect a person’s life. 

If you arrested for criminal assault in Florida, the first thing you’ll face once you’ve been arrested with assault charges is assault charges bail to be determined by the judge. Then there is the waiting for that bail to be posted, which may seem like it takes forever.  Depending on the time of day and what day it is, it can take hours, even a few days. 

Hiring an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney can help speed the process up, while providing you advice and assist you in navigating this process.  An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or the case thrown out. They can also work with the judge to minimize the possible penalties or  negotiate a plea bargain.

A conviction for assault charges will be on your permanent record and the impact is forever lasting. Some of the things that will be affected in your life are:

  • Loss of job and difficulty getting a new job
  • Buying or renting a  residence
  • Getting a loan or scholarship

If the assault charges result in a felony conviction, other consequences that can result are: 

  • Loss of right to vote
  • Ineligible to serve on a jury
  • Ineligible to hold public office
  • Ineligible to own or possess a firearms
  • Loss of professional certification or license

A person arrested on assault charges that has current criminal charges or a prior criminal record may see the assault charge and the punishment enhanced and stricter. This is especially if the previous charges were for a violent crime.

What are examples of assault?

Every state has their own definition of assault charges, usually broken into different categories.  In Florida, assault charges are classified in two categories, with the circumstances determining the category: 

  • Misdemeanor assault charges
  • Felony assault charges

A brief summarization what are different assault charges can result from an arrest are: 

  • Simple Assault:  The basic form of assault results in a second-degree misdemeanor.
    Criminal intent must be proven for the defendant to be considered liable. Simple assault charges deemed a second-degree misdemeanor has minor penalties of sixty days in jail, 6 month probation, and/or a fine of $500 or less. 
  • Aggravated Assault: This is step above the simple assault charges in severity and can be deemed an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or an assault while committing another felony crime. This creates a third-degree felony with penalty of 5 years imprisonment, 5 years’ probation, and/or a fine up to five thousand dollars. If assault charges include a deadly weapon, it can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of three-years.  

Assault with a Deadly Weapon is the act of committing an assault while welding a gun or knife, placing another person in imminent threat of being harmed.  Assault while committing another Felony elevates assault charges to aggravated assault charges. One example would be the burglary of a vehicle with the intention of unlawful threat to another person that causes them fear of looming harm.

Can a victim drop criminal charges?

The function of the United States  government is essentially to protect us. Sometimes that means we may lose some of our rights. In Florida, that means that a victim of criminal activity cannot drop charges against their assailant. They can request the District Attorney or Attorney General to drop the charges, but the ultimate decision is up to the state of Florida. 

Can assault charges be dropped?

If the assault charges are classified as domestic assault, no, the victim cannot drop the charges. The State of Florida has aggressive laws on this matter and has a strong stance on following through with conviction and sentencing. 

What is the penalty for an assault charge? 

Under Florida law, Simple Assault Charges are tried as a second degree misdemeanor. Penalty for this conviction include: 

  • 60 days in jail
  • 6 months’ probation
  • $500.00 fine

Aggravated Assault Charges are classified as a third degree felony with punishment of five years of imprisonment.

processed through arrest

Is battery worse than assault?

When it comes to assault charges vs battery charges in the State of Florida, they are two separate crimes, but both have serious penalties that can include fines, jail time, and probation. Assault charges refer to a threat that causes another person a fear of harm. Battery charges result from one person causing physical harm or touching another person not wanting to be touched. 

In either situation of assault charges or battery charges, as we state earlier, having the experience of a criminal defense attorney is recommended. They have the knowledge of how the legal system works so they can have the penalties minimized or possibly have the charges reduced or minimized. Need help with bail in St. Petersburg, FL? Call 727-571-9999 today.

What happens if your charged with theft?

wallet theft

How bad is a theft charge?

The definition of theft can be summarized as the action of stealing, or a crime of stealing. The legal definition is a generic term for which a person intentionally takes the personal property of another person without their consent or permission for their own use. Is Theft civil or criminal? 

In the state of Florida, theft statute encompasses a wide range of criminal acts that include stealing cash or jewelry to embezzling money. The consequence a theft conviction can be serious and include imprisonment, fines, restitution, civil liability, and result in a criminal record.

In Florida, theft is defined as a person that knowingly obtains, uses, or attempts to obtain or use property of another person, either permanently or temporarily and proceed with either of the following:

  • deprive the person owning the property, or
  • convert the other person’s property to an unauthorized use.

Every state has different theft charges law with various limits and ranges, usually base theft charges by amount to fall within a classification of the charge. In Florida, there is petty theft and grand theft, with levels of severity within each of those.  A general breakdown of these charges and penalties are as follows: 

Petty Theft:  

  • First-degree Petty Theft for stolen property valued between $100 and $749

No more than one year in jail and no more than a $1,000 fine 

  • Second degree Petty Theft for stolen property valued less than $100

No more than 60 days in jail and no more than a $500 fine 

Grand Theft: 

  • First-degree Grand Theft for stolen property valued at $100,000 and up  

No more than thirty years in prison with a fine no more than $10,000 

  • Second-degree Grand Theft for stolen property valued between $20,000 and up to $99,999

No more than 15 years in prison with a fine no more than $10,000 fine 

  • Third-degree Grand Theft for stolen property valued between $750 and up to $19,999
  • Maximum of 5 years in prison with a fine no more than $5,000

The repercussion that is permanent is the lifelong criminal record that will follow you everywhere, no matter what classification the charges fall under and the punishment handed down.    

Do you go to jail for first time theft?

The specifics each case is handled differently based on the value of the merchandise stolen. Petty theft charges bail in Florida is typically $1,000 bail.  Most first-time offenders will face petty theft charges as a second-degree misdemeanor. This is punished by a maximum of sixty days behind bars. A second offense of shop lifting could face a first-degree misdemeanor, which can face punishment of one year maximum in county jail, twelve month probation, and/or a $1,000 fine.  

Can I go to jail for stealing from work?

Theft from your employer is never a good thing, regardless of what reasons you may have decided that was your best recourse. Your employer will have the right to press charges against you and depending on the value of what you stole, you could be facing petty theft or grand larceny. 

Either way, these are serious charges and could highly likely become public record. You could be facing time behind bars, fines, and legal fees. Or, if you’re fortunate enough, your employer could take another approach and not press legal charges. Your employer may offer to let you pay for or return the item in question. 

Once you have been caught in the act of theft, plead your case and follow these steps: 

  1. Apologize: By apologizing for your theft, you’re admitting it is wrong. This needs to be done in person and then send a written apology to follow up. Offer to pay for any out-of-pocket losses and offer your regrets for the theft. 
  2. Resignation: After being caught with a theft, request a private meeting with your direct boss and a member of the human resource department. Offering your resignation and plan to walk away quietly as opposed to be dismissed or fired by your employer. Refrain from listing this employer as a reference or anyone at the company as a reference. At this point, it’s probably best to resign and walk away from the situation.
  3. Do Not Sign Any Document: Yes, you were caught in the act of theft, and your employer may present you with a civil agreement that you’ll repay for the property you stole. Before signing this agreement, or any other document pertaining to your theft or employment, consult with a lawyer first. 

Theft of any size can have detrimental consequence to your career and future. Before you choose to follow through with an act of theft, consider the ramifications you could face afterward. 

arrested individual

What evidence is needed for theft?

If you are charged with the crime of theft, the State of Florida is required to produce evidence that is sufficient proof of each element in order to convict you. For example, a person charged with grand theft, the state will need to prove that the property is valued at $300 or more. Otherwise, the judge could dismiss the case stating theft false charges. You can be sure that the public prosecutor will review the case thoroughly with the person filing the charges and the detective assigned to the case before charges are pressed.

Theft is a serious crime, regardless of what was stolen and what reason you may have to justify the theft. Thinking the matter through before making that decision and walking away is always recommended. Call 727-571-9999 today for theft bail in St. Petersburg, FL.

What are the 3 types of immigration?

immigrations cards

How can I live in America legally?

Immigration is defined as the process that allows an individual to become a citizen or permanent resident of another country. Through time, the immigration process has been due to cultural, economic, or social benefit. It is a long process that can vary each person. For most people, immigration can be good on all those factors and more, depending on the country they have applied for immigration

Every country has people wanting to move in and move out, although for this article, we’re focusing on the United States of America.

For a non-citizen of this country to relocate to America, the first step is to participate in the Green Card Lottery. There are 55,000 lottery cars issued by the American government, and by applying and by being granted an American citizenship, you’re declaring your commitment and loyalty to the country.  To be eligible for the Green Card Lottery, the requirements to be met are: 

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older 
  • Applicant must have lived in this country as Green Card Holder for at least five years or for three years is married to a U.S. Citizen 
  • Applicant must have lived a minimum of thirty months of the previous 5 years in this country or eighteen months of the previous 3 years if married to an American citizen.
  • Applicant must have lived in the same American state the previous 3 months prior to applying for naturalization.
  • Applicant is required to pass an English test 
  • Applicant is required to pass a Civils test
  • Applicant must prove their understanding of the American Constitution.
  • Applicant must respect and uphold American laws
  • Applicant must show good moral character.

Can an illegal immigrant get a green card?

There are serious penalties for a person that enters America without the Department of State approving entry, with one being they can’t apply for a Green Card. Once they are back in their country, they can apply for American citizenship Green Card from abroad. An illegal immigrant that remains in America for 180 days or more will lose any opportunity to apply for a maximum of 10 years. 

American takes any illegal entry seriously, allowing few options for an undocumented immigrant to apply and obtain permanent American residency. The services of an immigrant attorney is advised to get the most updated process on the matter. 

How long does it take for an illegal immigrant to get a green card?

Permanent residency in American is adjudicated by the USCIS )U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), who also handles all immigration benefits.  They give a wide range of the estimated time for immigration applications to be processed, even with the current automated system. 

A permanent residence application, Form I-485, can take between seven to thirty-three months. This time frame can be dependent on the current load with the local office that one applied through and several factors. This automated system applies these forms of immigration: 

  • Application for Naturalization
  • Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
  • Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

What is the 10 year immigration law?

The “Ten-year law” allows the Attorney General to cancel a non-permanent resident’s deportation from America with the following stipulations: 

  1. The immigrant has been current in the country physically continuously for ten years prior to the removal proceedings.
  2. The immigrant has been of good moral character for the past 10 years;
  3. The immigrant cannot be under criminal and security grounds, be part of marriage fraud, criminal grounds, or has failed to register, or falsified documents, or any associated grounds.
  4. The immigrant has established uncommon hardship to a qualified U.S. citizen.

Deportation relief is decided at an Immigration Judge’s discretion, with the exception of Withholding of Deportation. An Immigration judge has the final order which can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

immigration law

Can I be deported if I am married to a citizen?

Yes,  immigration enforcement marriage to a United States citizen doesn’t stop deportation if certain criteria isn’t met. Those criteria are legal entry, real marriage, a medical exam, and show proof of income. 

Fortunately, there is an immigration helpline established where questions are answered in English and Spanish. Dial 800-375-5283 for hearing impaired, TTY 800-767-1833. If your questions aren’t answered in a manner you understand, contacting an immigration attorney is the best option. 

As an American citizen, participating in inactivity to help an illegal immigrant can be met with legal punishment. Helping even a family member to enter American illegally is considered alien smuggling, a crime with serious consequences. This includes and not limited to providing false documents or money.  If the person helping is a legalized immigrant, they can have their American citizenship removed and be deported to their home country. Call 727-571-9999 today for your immigration bail assistance needs.

Do You Have to Get Bailed Out for a DUI?

A Man Drives With a Beer in Hand.

Do you have to get bailed out for a DUI?

While most people want to get out of jail as soon as possible after a DUI arrest, you might have a good reason to want to stay in jail. Some might not be able to afford bail. Others might just simply be too ashamed or embarrassed to call someone for bail. In Florida, you’re going to stay in jail until your BAC is at an acceptable level. Bail will be set after that. Moreover, DUI bail, or any bail for that matter, is never 100% guaranteed. Judges might decide not to grant bail in certain circumstances. If you have an extensive criminal record or several DUI arrests or convictions or if the judge believes you might be a flight risk for some reason, bail might not be granted. If you do, indeed, want to be released from jail and need DUI bail bonds in St. Petersburg, FL, you can get fast, reliable 24/7 help from Al Estes Bail Bonds. All you need to do is call 727-571-9999.

How much does it cost to bail out of jail for DUI?

In Florida, for a first-time DUI offense bail will be set at $1,000. A second offense is $5,000. But, don’t expect to get out of jail immediately after a DUI arrest. You’re going to have to sober up first. You’ll likely remain in jail for eight to 12 hours as your BAC levels drop to a level acceptable for release.

How likely is jail time for first DUI?

In Florida, if you’re convicted of DUI, it’s not unusual for even first-time offenders to receive a jail sentence. Jail time is especially likely if you refused to take a breath test or a crash was involved.

Jail sentences for first-offense DUI include:

  • With no crash involved up to six months when you refuse a breath test or your BAC is below 0.15. You are considered DUI if your BAC is 0.08 or higher.
  • A sentence of up to nine months is possible for a BAC of 0.15 or higher or if you had a minor in the car.
  • If a crash was involved, you can receive up to 12 months of jail time.

A DUI arrest in Florida will have you waiting in jail for several hours as you sober up before DUI bail can be posted.

Will a first time DUI ruin my life?

While a DUI, like other criminal offenses, can impact your life in some negative ways, your life will not be ruined. Although you could end up in jail, even for a first-time offense, or even lose your license, you can get past this charge, especially if you stay out of trouble and fulfill all obligations set down by the court if convicted, especially attending any court-ordered rehab sessions.

After you’ve posted DUI bail, if you don’t have an attorney, you should get one to help you with your case. Attorneys can help you get charges or sentences reduced and can guide you through the process. With an attorney on your side, you have a better chance of getting the charges dropped in certain circumstances.

If you’re seeking employment and the charges come up in a background check, you should always be honest with your potential employer. Most people will understand that DUIs especially are mistakes in judgment most people are able to get past and move forward with their lives afterward.

Does a DUI make you a bad person?

Having a DUI on your record doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. DUIs are fairly common and often the worst offense your average person commits. What this means is that you made a really terrible decision that, hopefully, you’ll never make again. This does not mean others won’t judge you. They may, and it could affect aspects of your life from personal relationships to jobs.

DUI released without bail

While in Florida, you will have to remain in jail until your BAC has reached an acceptable level for your release, a judge will set bail after that. For a first-time offender, DUI bail is normally set at $1,000, but a judge also has an option to release you without bail, or on your own recognizance. This means you’ll sign an agreement to appear for all court hearings. You will also have to follow certain conditions set down by the court which might include maintaining employment or even beginning alcohol rehab. Recognizance releases are entirely up to the court.

DUI while out on bail

If you’ve been bailed out of jail for any offense, and then are arrested for another offense, it’s very likely your bail will be revoked. This is especially true for a DUI because avoiding alcohol or drugs while out on bail is often a condition of your bail agreement. Moreover, not only will you have to make it to your court appearance for the first offense, but you’ll also have to appear in court for the second offense. Depending on the circumstances, it’s harder to get bail for the second offense or if bail is granted, the amount will probably be much higher than normal and the conditions much stricter.

Bail for DUI manslaughter

When you drive under the influence, crash, and kill someone, you’ve committed a very serious offense—DUI manslaughter. At the very minimum DUI bail for this offense is $20,000. It’s often set much higher.

A Man Arrested for DUI.

DUI bail in Florida

If you’ve been arrested for DUI and need help fast with DUI bail in St. Petersburg, FL, you can always rely on Al Estes Bail Bonds. We will get you the help you need and we’re available 24/7. Give us a call at 727-571-9999.

What are the 2 types of arrests?

arrest and fingerprints

What is an arrest and when does it occur?

The word arrest can be scary for most people, regardless why.  So many things start going through the arrested person’s mind, depending on where they were and who they were with.  Being under arrest or detained at work, at home, at a traffic accident, and if your kids are with you, what are thinking? You’re scared, imagine how a child feels when they don’t understand what’s happening. 

For something minor, you have to wonder was an arrest necessary, is an arrest not mandatory? Can law enforcement arrest without warrant? So many questions, so many concerns, that small word, arrest. It can create a lot of issues, but then if you weren’t doing something against the law, it wouldn’t be an issue, right? 

An arrest is happening when law enforcement says, “You’re under arrest”, but the actions an officer can take are considered an arrest too. The determining factor of when somebody is being placed under arrest will be if evidence was seized or any statements made that will be admissible in a trial.  A court will consider any of the following four factors to determine whether a person has actually been arrested: 

1. A Reasonable Person Doesn’t Feel Free to Leave

The extent to which a person’s freedom of movement is curtailed by what degree and manner of force is used. 

2. Physical Restraint is Not Required for an Arrest

Physical restraint by law enforcement is definitely considered being arrested, as to the words “you’re under arrest”, there are other forms of arrest that expressed statement and physical restraint are not included. 

3. A Show of Force by Law Enforcement

Seizure justified by specific standards can become an arrest that may require probable cause if other than momentary. An example when an accused is ordered to halt and lie face down, would amount to an arrest, not temporarily detained. 

4. Passage of Time Converts Detained to an Arrest

The accused believes being detained for a period of time, not free to leave, could consider they are under arrest without force.

What do they say when they arrest you?

Usually, law enforcement will state something to the effect of “You’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you. If you waive these rights and talk to us, anything you say can and will be used against you in court.”  Sometimes, the first sentence may be “You’re being arrested for ……” with the reason of the arrest stated and then remaining part of that about an attorney, any you say, etc., etc. 

What happens when you are under arrest? And What is the arrest procedure?

Being placed under arrest is scary and what takes place from your arrest to sentencing process can be confusing. Each city, county, state may have some different procedures. The cause and the timing of the arrest can vary as well, but these are the basics when a person is placed under arrest: 

  • When a person is stopped or approached by law enforcement, they maybe frisked by the arresting officer. This is often referred to as a “pat-down” where the officer pats down over the arrested person’s outer clothing in search of concealed weapons or other illegal matter like illegal drugs or paraphernalia, contraband, stolen items, or crime evidence. A complete search will typically take place once the person is being booked into jail. 
  • If the arrest happens after a traffic stop and the arrested person was driving, the vehicle is impounded. 
  • Once at the police stating, any personal property like jewelry and money are taken and secured, tagged with name, date, and case number or inmate number. The arrested person is asked to review the items and sign a statement of inventory if all contents appear to be what was on their person. 
  • After the arrest, the transport to jail, the personal items removed and inventoried, the person is then booked where the arresting officer or clerk will ask basic personal information such as name, address, and date of birth. The person is then fingerprinted and photographed. 
  • If the person is being arrested under suspicion of a crime, they may be asked to join a line-up. This is when a victim or witness is asked to identify a person that accosted, robbed, raped, or as part of a criminal act. A handwriting sample may be requested as well.
  • If a person is detained without being formally charged or booked within a reasonable time, a lawyer can request a writ of habeas corpus by a judge. This instructs the law enforcement agency to present the person before the judge and a determination will be made whether charges should be filed, or the person is free to go.  

The Process Post-Booking Process

  • After the arrest and booking is completed, the prosecutor is given the case and a decision is made from that office what charges are to be filed and pursued. The arrested person is guaranteed a right to a speedy trial under federal law. This gives the prosecution office 48 to 72 hours to file charges or release the person.  
  • Next, and arraignment is held. This is where the arrested person hears the charges being filed against them and they are giving the opportunity to state if they plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. 
  • The arraignment judge will then either set bail, deny bail, or in some cases, release the person based on evidence and situation.  A court date will be set, and the arrest person will be required to be present, with or without their attorney. (With an attorney is always recommended). 
arrested individual

Is Resisting arrest a misdemeanor or felony?

Currently, in the state of Florida, resisting arrest without violence, the conviction is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty fine of $1,000.00  and up to twelve months in jail. Resisting arrest with violence, the conviction is a third-degree felony with a $5,000  maximum fine. If resisting arrest conviction is upheld, the penalty could be five years in prison or a maximum of five years on probation.

Arrest is not a word that anyone wants to hear, as related to themselves or anyone they know. It is a dramatic time that changes a person’s life as well as those around them. Seeking the advice of a criminal attorney should be the number one step taken when a person has been arrested. There are going to be many things that having an attorney present and representing can clarify and make sure the arrested person’s constitutional rights are honored and upheld. Call 727-571-9999 today for your bail needs.