Sen. Brandes’ criminal justice bill could end the bail bonds business
Florida Politics

Sen. Brandes’ criminal justice bill could end the bail bonds business


Florida state Senator Jeff Brandes (R) is considered one of the most conservative politicians in the Florida legislature, but the pro-gun, anti-tax, less government, and usually business-friendly legislator has filed a bill that could put his conservative bona fides into question.

Brandes’ CS/SB 1218, is seen as nothing more than another taxpayer-funded government program that would severely cripple the bail bonds trade, if not all-but eliminate it.

The bill calls for taxpayers to flip the bill on personal electronic monitors that would be affixed to offenders and completely cut out the bail bondsmen.

“Electronic Bracelets are the new Slave and Indentured Servant Ankle Irons of Old. They create a bloated government program, create a beat down… I wish Brandes and his colleagues would wear one of those monitors for a month, put their ankles where their mouths are.”Jerry Laing, bail bondsman

While police act as the first line of defense in combatting crime, bail bondsmen, who do not receive government subsidies to manage their clients, are the clean-up crew that come in and enforce court-ordered pre-trial release instructions.

Some believe Brandes’ bill, as well as others like it nationwide, would task police and corrections officers make release decisions on the street without sufficient information to base the release on.

According to the bill, misdemeanors would be reclassified as civil infractions rather than crimes. In other words, individuals who commit crimes like prostitution, simple battery, indecent exposure, reckless driving, vandalism, lewdness, and DUI/drunk driving, would only receive a simple citation instead of being arrested and having to post a bond.

Because they only charge a 10% fee to bail individuals out of jail, bail bondsmen must rely on all kinds of bond amounts from both felonies and misdemeanors to help them balance their books at the end of the month, put food on the table.

If the Florida legislature passes the bill and it gets signed into law by arguably the most pro-business governor in Florida’s history, Gov. Rick Scott, bail bondsmen could very well see their respective small businesses served with a death sentence of sorts.

Senator Jeff Brandes’ Tallahassee Office-(850) 487-5024


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  • Mike says:

    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of tax payers of Florida, and supporting small businesses.

    • Ernie V says:

      This is one of the most forward thinking pieces of business I have seen in a long time. Do you know just many people cannot make even a small bail? Our jails are filled with them, costing way more. Like maybe 100x more. Not to mention the social cost and economic cost to families and the persons we jail. The bondsman may lose the low end of their business , we the taxpayer will save millions and millions. Shame on the justice system for ever making people suffer in excess of what their “crime” deserve.

      • Tim says:

        We study the statistics quarterly in the state of florida and I can assure you the portion of inmates in county jails throughout the state that remain in jail on misdemeanor charges is very small. Often they are there for reasons other than monetary. These are repeat offenders who’s own families won’t put up the bail money. Many accused of misdemeanor charges are returned to custody for violations of conditions of pretrial release programs. Which are in place in many Florida counties.
        Taxpayers should not pay for the cost of releasing the accused.
        If taxpayers received itemized statements of there tax bills I could see looking at incarceration costs with a frown. I imagine those same taxpayers looking a line item titled “pre-trial monitor program” with 7 zeros and getting furious. Let the taxpayers vote on it. Not the politicians.

  • Ken Berke says:

    There are about 750,000 arrests in Florida each year according to FDLE data. There are 28 taxpayer funded, government employee pretrial divisions in Florida already costing over $30 million each year. The average cost per defendant is over $1000 according to Florida OPPAGA reports Some division cost is almost $2000 per defendant. If just one third of the 750,000 are placed into government employee divisions, the cost to taxpayers would be over $250 million annualy. The government would need to hire hundreds and likely thousands to replace the user-paid private bail system that already works quite well. Less than one-half of one percent of defendants arrested on misdemeanor offenses each year are in jail on any given day in Florida. Again, less than on-half of one percent. Does this sound like a problem that requires hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers each year? Senator Brandes has been provided this information. I guess Senator Brandes is not the less government, pro-taxpayer, conservative he claims to be.

  • Lee says:

    Again, conservative Republicans fail to practice what they preach. They preach how business friendly they are, how against more taxpayer programs they are and then they try to create more. “Throw the bums out.”

  • Tony says:

    This big government deep nanny state career criminal politician wants tax payers to foot the pretrial release bill. Bail cost the taxpayers ZERO. Pretrial costs millions. Additionally the system then turns into Big Brother violating civil rights, privacy laws, etc.. We return the absconders back to jail or pay dearly. Pretrial has tens of thousands of court no shows at large, innundating the warrants system. This vote grabbing moron knows NOTHING about bail bonds.

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