If you’re arrested, you’re supposed to be taken before a judicial officer within 24 hours of arrest for a first appearance. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.131(b) requires the court at a first appearance to decide pretrial release conditions for eligible defendants, except where the State has moved for pretrial detention.
In a recent Broward County criminal appeal involving consolidated proceedings, the petitioners argued that pretrial detention without bond was not appropriate. The defendants were charged with felonies punishable by life. At their first appearance, the court found there was probable cause to believe they’d committed the crimes with which they were charged. It refused to set bond without first deciding whether a probable cause affidavit established proof of guilt was clear or the presumption was great. The petitioners argued the refusal to set bond or make requisite findings violated Florida Constitution Article I, section 14.
In order to hold a defendant without bond before an Arthur hearing, a first appearance judge needs to find that the probable cause affidavit shows proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great. The appellate court explained that at a first appearance, the court needed to make a finding about whether the probable cause affidavit or something else shown to the court established proof of guilt was clear or the presumption great as grounds to deny pretrial release without bond. When this very tough standard is met, and the court decides not to set bond, the defendant can later ask that the bond be set aside and ask for a full Arthur hearing. At a full Arthur hearing, a defendant can put forward evidence and ask the court to use its discretion to set bond.