Florida Court Upholds the Right to Pretrial Release

The Florida Constitution generally grants criminal defendants the right to pretrial release. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, such as when the conditions of release are inadequate to protect people in the community from the risk of physical harm or when the defendant is charged with a dangerous crime. Only certain offenses fall under the umbrella of dangerous crimes, though, as discussed in a recent Florida case in which the defendant charged with soliciting first-degree murder and other crimes successfully challenged his pretrial detention. If you are faced with charges that you committed a violent crime, it is essential to ensure that your rights are protected, and it is in your best interest to speak to a Clearwater violent crime defense attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the state charged the defendant, who was a corrections officer, with numerous offenses, including solicitation of first-degree murder and multiple narcotics crimes. The state then filed a motion for pretrial detention pursuant to Florida law while the defendant moved to set bond. The court held an evidentiary hearing, during which it found that the defendant was charged with a dangerous crime and there was a significant likelihood that he committed the crime.

It is reported that the court also determined that the defendant presented a threat to the community and that no conditions of release would protect the people in the community from the risk of harm. Thus, the court granted the state’s motion for pretrial detention. The defendant filed a motion for reconsideration, which the court denied. He then petitioned the court for writ of habeas corpus.

Grounds for Imposing Pretrial Detention

The court granted the defendant’s petition. Under Florida law, people accused of crimes have the right to obtain release pending trial unless they are charged with a capital offense or a crime punishable by life in prison, and their guilt is evident. Pretrial release will also be denied if the defendant presents a threat to the safety of people in the community and no conditions of release can reasonably protect community members from potential harm.

Guidelines set forth by the Florida legislature note that there is a presumption in favor of release unless a defendant is charged with a dangerous crime. Only those offenses specifically enumerated in the guidelines as dangerous crimes will bar pretrial release on such grounds, though. In the subject case, the court explained that none of the offenses the defendant was charged with were considered dangerous crimes. Thus, it vacated the trial court’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Talk to a Dedicated Clearwater Attorney

Convictions for violent offenses carry significant penalties, but simply because a person is charged with a crime does not mean that they will be found guilty. If you are accused of committing a violent offense, you should talk to an attorney about your options for seeking a favorable outcome. The dedicated Clearwater violent crime defense attorneys of Hanlon Law possess the skills and resources needed to help you protect your liberties, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Hanlon Law via the online form or by calling 727-897-5413 to set up a conference.

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