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Violations of Pre-Trial Release in Polk County, FL

The conditions imposed for the pre-trial release program in Bartow and Polk County, FL, are far more burdensome than in other counties in Florida. The pre-trial release program in Polk County required individuals to be supervised and submit to drug testing even before they have been convicted of any offense. Even worse, the court requires a person to post bond and the pre-trial release conditions are added to it.

A criminal defense attorney for cases in Bartow, FL, can file a motion for the court to eliminate or modify the pre-trial release conditions. In the event that pre-trial services claims that you violated one of the conditions of your release, a criminal defense attorney can file a motion to request that the court withdraw the warrant or capias issued for your arrest.

The methods of supervision include telephone contact, mail-in reports, periodic office visits, drug and substance testing and monitoring. The conditions are especially harsh for individuals charged with DUI or any type of drug charge. The conditions can also be extremely expensive and make it difficult to go to work and support your family while the case is pending.

In many ways, the pre-trial release conditions feel like a punishment intended to force you to resolve the case.

Attorneys for Pre-Trial Release Violations in Polk County, FL

If you would like to see your pre-trial release conditions modified or eliminated while your case is pending, you should hire a criminal defense attorney to handle the entire case who will work hard to handle these issues including the issues related to modifying the pre-trial release requirements.

Call an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case pending in Bartow, FL, and the surrounding areas in Polk County, FL. Call (813) 250-0500.

Reasons the Pre-trial Release Program Should be Abolished

Many people complain that the pre-trial release conditions in Polk County, FL, are a waste of resources and fundamentally unfair. Additionally, many people released from jail don’t even understand the conditions or their requirement to report because the courts do a very bad job of providing them with notice of the conditions or the consequences of failing to comply.

Criminal defense attorneys waste a lot of time trying to get unfair and unduly burdensome conditions amended or eliminate which increases the cost needed to defend the case. 

Over the years, bills have been introduced to put in place common-sense legislation to alter or restrict a judge’s ability to release defendants to the supervision of the Polk County pretrial services program, but those bills have been aggressively opposed by the lobbyist for law enforcement and those who benefit financially from the program. 

In fact, the Board of County Commissioners of Polk County, FL, even went so far as to issue a resolution in 2011, to urge the Florida Legislature to oppose any bill designed to alter or otherwise restrict a judge’s ability to release defendants to the supervision of Polk County’s pretrial services program administered by the Tenth Judicial Circuit.

Even efforts to provide due process protections and more adequate notice to people subject to this program have been opposed by officials in Polk County. 

Resolutions by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners

The board cited two provisions that supposedly justified their support for the pretrial services program. First, Section 907.041(3), Florida Statutes, states that it is the intent of the Legislature to create a presumption in favor of release on non-monetary conditions for any person who is granted pretrial release, unless such a person is charged with a dangerous crime.

Second, Rule 3.131(b), Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, refers to a presumption in favor of release on non-monetary conditions for any person who is granted pretrial release. 

For these reasons, the Polk County Board of County Commissioners of Polk County, FL, in an open meeting assembled in the Neil Combee Administration Building in Bartow, FL, on November 11, 2011, found as follows:

  • The County of Polk hereby declares its opposition to proposed legislation designed to modify, alter, or otherwise restrict judges’ ability to release defendants to the supervision of the Polk County Pretrial Services program, without regard to defendants’ financial status; and
  • The County of Polk requests that legislators oppose proposed legislation that would alter the operation of the current Polk County Pretrial Services program administered by the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court. 

What is the Pre-Trial Services Program in Polk County, FL?

The Polk County Pretrial Services, prior to First Appearance, provides the Court with defendant background information to include criminal history, current supervisory status, criminal classifications/designations, and input from the alleged victims. The Pretrial Services staff in Polk County, FL, advises the Court at First Appearance as to the appropriateness of the defendant’s eligibility for Pretrial Services supervision. 

The First Appearance occurs within 24 hours of arrest, making it logistically impossible for Pretrial staff to perform the investigation necessary to determine indigence prior thereto. The board estimated that in 2010, there were 30,907 persons booked into the Polk County jail. Out of those cases, 5,499 people were placed on Pretrial Release.

The board estimated that the failure to comply rate was one percent and the failure to appear rate was two percent showing that the pre-trial release program is an “overwhelming success.”  

The board also fought efforts to eliminate the pre-trial release program by arguing: 

  • when release into a pretrial supervision program is delayed or denied, the daily jail population increases as evidenced by the Average Length of Stay (ALOS) and the Average Daily Population (ADP);
  • an increase in jail population results in increased costs to house these individuals—food, beds, clothing, correctional staff, etc.; 
  • the increased costs to the operation of the jails increase costs to taxpayers;
  • continued increases in population result in the need for jail expansion by either constructing new facilities or by making structural additions to existing jails;
  • additional cells/beds result in the need to increase staff;
  • the Polk County Pretrial Services program provides a point-of-contact for victims in the event defendants violate contact orders, administers drug screening of defendants, and provides effective supervision to help ensure defendants attend scheduled court dates, all in a cost-effective manner; and 
  • the supervision and monitoring of defendants by the Pretrial Services program enhances the public safety and welfare of the citizens of Polk County by holding all participants accountable.

Additional Resources

Pre-Trial Services of the 10th Judicial Circuit for Bartow, FL – Since 1981, the Pre-Trial Services (PTS) Program has provided the courts with a way to impose draconian sanctions on a person merely accused of a crime even before the criminal case is resolved. The programs very survival depends on its argument that it helps to reduce jail over-crowding and costs at the Polk County jails although the money saved comes at the expense of individuals accused of a crime in Polk County even before the case is resolved. Also, those same savings could be obtained by simply releasing the person with fewer conditions. The program reviews their arrest histories and makes recommendations to the Court regarding their detention or release, often with very little accountability or oversight.

Finding an Attorney after a Violation of Pre-Trial Release in Bartow, FL

If a capias was issued in your case for a violation of your pre-trial release conditions in Polk County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for cases in Bartow and Polk County, FL. We can also file a motion to reduce or eliminate these requirements with the court so that no violations occur in the first place.

Call an experienced criminal defense attorney for Polk County, FL, pre-trial release cases today by calling (813) 250-0500. Our attorneys represent clients charged with DUI and violation of probation at the courthouse in Bartow and Lakeland, FL.  

This article was last updated on Friday, May 11, 2018.

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