Many people who are charged with crimes in Florida are allowed to remain out of jail while preparing for trial. As the Third District Court of Appeal explains in Santiago v. Ryan, however, a defendant only gets “one shot” at release and is likely to end up behind bars if he or she violates the terms of the release.
Santiago was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking following an incident with his ex-wife on Christmas 2012. He was served with a temporary injunction banning him from unwanted contact with the woman while awaiting processing at a local police station. A judge allowed Santiago to be released on bond pending trial the next day and ordered him to stay away from his ex-wife. Santiago was still in jail waiting to be released later the same day when he made threatening phone calls to the woman. He was charged with separate counts of aggravated stalking, witness tampering and violation of the restraining order and was released after paying a second bond related to these charges.
Santiago appeared in court to be arraigned for the first set of stalking charges about a month later. The judge revoked his bond and ordered that Santiago be detained until trial on the charges, finding that he had violated the pretrial release conditions by threatening his ex-wife from jail.
Section 903.0471, Florida Statutes (2000) allows a court to revoke a bond and order that a person be detained pending trial where “the court finds probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release.” Santiago appealed the trial court’s ruling, arguing that he was not actually on pretrial release at the time of the phone calls because he was still in jail. The Third District disagreed.
“[W]e think that the claim that a defendant is free to commit new crimes without endangering a previous order of pretrial release merely because he had not yet complied with the conditions requires an unsupportable anomaly in the statute,” the court explained. Specifically, the court said that the state legislature clearly intended to codify common law, giving a criminal defendant “one shot at pretrial release.” In other words, the “two strikes and you’re in” rule was intended to apply to a defendant who commits a crime from jail while awaiting release, according to the court.
A criminal conviction can have serious, long lasting effects. A person charged with a crime in Florida has a number of defenses available under the law, however, including those related to whether or not he committed the crime and those concerning the state’s handling of the prosecution. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, it is imperative to seek the counsel of a qualified, experienced attorney. The South Florida criminal defense lawyers at Anidjar & Levine are experienced in handling a wide range of criminal cases throughout the state, including in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Pompano Beach. We are dedicated to providing our clients with aggressive, competent and high-quality representation.
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