A bail bond is a document which assures the court that a person charged with an offense, and who typically is in jail, will, if released from incarceration, appear for future court dates and remain in the jurisdiction of the court. There are very specific charges that a defendant may be able to bond out on, without the necessity of seeing a judge. One example of this is an arrest as the result of a bench warrant. The amount of the bond may have been set at the time the bench warrant was ordered by the Judge.
Generally speaking, 2 types of bail bonds are utilized. One of these types is a surety bond. A surety bond is a written guarantee by a bonding company, ensuring the appearance of a defendant for all future court dates. Normally, the defendant is required by the bonding company to deposit with them, a non-refundable percentage of the overall bond amount. The bonding company is essentially providing the court with an insurance policy that the defendant will appear in court. The bonding company then becomes liable for the full amount of the bond if the defendant does not appear. After the case has been disposed of by the court, the surety bond will be released, and a certificate of discharge will be sent to the bonding company by the Clerk's Office. You must contact the bonding company concerning any questions about the release of any security you may have posted with them.
If a cash bond has been forfeited, you must write to the judge to ask for the bond estreature to be vacated. Once the bond has been vacated and the case is disposed of, you may still obtain a refund of the bond monies less a $3 state fee. In order to obtain a refund of a vacated bond, mail or bring a copy of the blue bond slip, vacate order signed by the judge and case disposition to the Finance/Budget Division, Central Courthouse, Judicial Complex West Building, 201 S.E. 6th Street, 18th Floor, Room 18120, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Please note that we cannot issue checks on demand. Checks typically take 3-5 days to be processed.
The other type of bond traditionally used is a cash bond. A cash bond requires the total amount of the bond to be posted, with the jail, in cash, before the defendant will be released. If, for any reason the defendant fails to appear for court, the presiding Judge may forfeit the bond. The bond money will then be held in a special forfeiture fund, pending any further orders issued by the Judge.
In order to obtain your cash bond refund, you must appear at the Clerk's Office and obtain a certified copy of the court disposition. You must then take the certified disposition and your blue copy of the cash bond receipt to the cash bond unit of the Broward Sheriff's Office, located at the main jail, adjacent to the Central courthouse, in Fort Lauderdale.
Broward Sheriff's Office
Cash Bond Unit
Broward County Jail
555 South East 1 Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301