Violations of Pre-Trial Release in Polk County

The pre-trial release programs in Florida require a person to be supervised even before they have been convicted of a crime. The conditions imposed for the pre-trial release program in Bartow and Polk County, FL, are more burdensome than in most other counties in Florida.

The order granting pretrial release often requires the defendant to report to pre-trial services after their release from jail, after each court appearance, and call twice a week from the date of release until the final disposition of the case.

In addition to these pretrial release conditions, the person might STILL have to post a monetary bond, making the program incredibly unfair. Each year, approximately 10% of participants receive an arrest warrant for “Failure to Appear.” Another 5% are issued a warrant after being accused of committing a crime while on pretrial release.

As a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health crisis, the staff at pretrial services relies on virtual check-in and remote conferences. If all else fails, questions can be sent to the Director of Pretrial Services, Phil Silverstein, at

The methods of supervision include telephone contact, mail-in reports, periodic office visits, drug testing and monitoring. The conditions are especially harsh for individuals charged with DUI or drug charges.

The conditions add additional costs and make it difficult for a person to work and support their family while the case is pending. In many ways, the pre-trial release conditions force a person to enter a plea as quickly as possible.

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 that aspect of the case.

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.

For instance, if the order prohibits you from leaving the state of Florida without the court’s permission, we can help you request that this condition be lifted so that you can visit family, take a vacation, or travel for work.

At Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys work hard to eliminate the overly burdensome pretrial release conditions. We also fight to protect clients accused of violating a pretrial release condition.

If pre-trial services allege that you violated one of the conditions of your release, a warrant or capias might be issued for your arrest. A criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm can file a motion to request that the court withdraw the warrant or capias issued for your arrest.

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.

The Most Common Conditions for Pre-Trial Release in Florida

Other than not being able to leave the state, other conditions of pre-trial release might include:

  • not possessing or consuming alcohol or entering any bar or lounge;
  • submitting to random urinalysis or breath testing;
  • obeying a curfew;
  • not using, possessing or carrying a firearm, guns, weapons, ammunition or knives;
  • not having any contact with the alleged victim or any codefendant;
  • not having contact with any child under the age of 18 years old;
  • not possessing, accessing, or using any computer (or another type of electronic device with internet or intranet capabilities); or
  • submitting to GPS monitoring with or without house arrest conditions.

Reasons the Pre-trial Release Program Should be Abolished

Many argue the pre-trial release conditions in Polk County, FL, are a waste of resources and fundamentally unfair.

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

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

The Board of County Commissioners of Polk County, FL, even went so far as to issue a resolution in 2011, urging 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 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 supposedly justifying their support for the pretrial services program.

First, Section 907.041(3), Florida Statutes, states that the Legislature intended to create a presumption in favor of release on non-monetary conditions for any person who is granted a 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?

Before the First Appearance hearing, pretrial services provide the Court with background information about each defendant. That information might include the Defendant’s 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.

Polk County Pretrial Services Program Register

Each year, the Pretrial Services Program Register publishes a report. The report is funded by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners under the office of Court Administration.

In 2018, the annual report shows that the Polk County Pretrial Services Program had more than twenty full-time staff members. The funding for the fiscal year of October of 2018 through September of 2019 $1,179,737.

The operating and capital budget was $106,505. The number of defendants assessed and interviewed was 27,705. In 2018, out of the 1,025 defendants released on nonsecured release, at least 90 individuals were accused of failing to attend a scheduled court appearance and were issued Failure to Appear Warrants.

Out of the 1,025 defendants released on nonsecured release, 55 individuals were rearrested.

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 accused of a crime even before the criminal case is resolved. The program’s survival depends on its argument that it helps to reduce jail overcrowding and costs at the Polk County jails. The money saved comes at the expense of individuals accused of a crime in Polk County even before the case is resolved. Simply releasing people with fewer conditions would save more money. The program reviews their arrest histories and makes recommendations to the Court regarding their detention or release, often with very little accountability or oversight.

Clerk on Pretrial Release Register – Visit the clerk of court in Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit for Polk County to learn more about pretrial services. People subject to Pretrial Release supervision are supervised by the staff at Pretrial Services. People who can comply with all court-ordered conditions are allowed to remain on Pretrial Release until the final disposition of the case. The detention personnel at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are required to tell all defendants placed on Pretrial Release about the requirement to report to the Pretrial Services Office upon their release.

Lawyer for Violations 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. Our attorneys represent clients charged with DUI and violation of probation at the courthouse in Bartow and Lakeland, FL.

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for Polk County, FL, pre-trial release cases today.

Call (813) 250-0500.

This article was last updated on Friday, March 3, 2023.