Prohibitions, Penalties Against Bail Bond Agents

648.44 Prohibitions; penalty.—
(1) A bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent may not:
(a) Suggest or advise the employment of, or name for employment, any particular attorney to represent his or her principal.
(b) Directly or indirectly solicit business in or on the property or grounds of a jail, prison, or other place where prisoners are confined or in or on the property or grounds of any court. The term “solicitation” includes the distribution of business cards, print advertising, or other written or oral information directed to prisoners or potential indemnitors, unless a request is initiated by the prisoner or a potential indemnitor. Permissible print advertising in the jail is strictly limited to a listing in a telephone directory and the posting of the bail bond agent’s or agency’s name, address, and telephone number in a designated location within the jail.
(c) Initiate in-person or telephone solicitation after 9:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m., in the case of domestic violence cases, at the residence of the detainee or the detainee’s family. Any solicitation not prohibited by this chapter must comply with the telephone solicitation requirements in ss. 501.059(2) and (4), 501.613, and 501.616(6).
(d) Wear or display any identification other than the department issued or approved license or approved department identification, which includes a citation of the licensee’s arrest powers, in or on the property or grounds of a jail, prison, or other place where prisoners are confined or in or on the property or grounds of any court.
(e) Pay a fee or rebate or give or promise anything of value to a jailer, police officer, peace officer, or committing trial court judge or any other person who has power to arrest or to hold in custody or to any public official or public employee in order to secure a settlement, compromise, remission, or reduction of the amount of any bail bond or estreatment thereof.
(f) Pay a fee or rebate or give anything of value to an attorney in a bail bond matter, except in defense of any action on a bond.
(g) Pay a fee or rebate or give or promise anything of value to the principal or anyone in his or her behalf.
(h) Participate in the capacity of an attorney at a trial or hearing of one on whose bond he or she is surety.
(i) Loiter in or about a jail, courthouse, or where prisoners are confined.
(j) Accept anything of value from a principal for providing a bail bond except the premium and transfer fee authorized by the office, except that the bail bond agent may accept collateral security or other indemnity from the principal or another person in accordance with the provisions of s. 648.442, together with documentary stamp taxes, if applicable. No fees, expenses, or charges of any kind shall be permitted to be deducted from the collateral held or any return premium due, except as authorized by this chapter or rule of the department or commission. A bail bond agent may, upon written agreement with another party, receive a fee or compensation for returning to custody an individual who has fled the jurisdiction of the court or caused the forfeiture of a bond.
(k) Write more than one power of attorney per charge on a bond, except in the case of a cosurety, unless the power of attorney prohibits a cosurety.
(l) Execute a bond in this state on his or her own behalf.
(m) Execute a bond in this state if a judgment has been entered on a bond executed by the bail bond agent, which has remained unpaid for 35 days, unless the full amount of the judgment is deposited with the clerk in accordance with s. 903.27(5).
(n) Make a statement or representation to a court, unless such statement or representation is under oath. Such statement or representation may not be false, misleading, or deceptive.
(o) Attempt to collect, through threat or coercion, amounts due for the payment of any indebtedness related to the issuance of a bail bond in violation of s. 559.72.
(p) Conduct bail bond business with any person, other than the defendant, on the grounds of the jail or courthouse for the purpose of executing a bond.
(2) The following persons or classes shall not be bail bond agents, temporary bail bond agents, or employees of a bail bond agent or a bail bond business and shall not directly or indirectly receive any benefits from the execution of any bail bond:
(a) Jailers or persons employed in any jail.
(b) Police officers or employees of any police department or law enforcement agency.
(c) Committing trial court judges, employees of a court, or employees of the clerk of any court.
(d) Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs or employees of any sheriff’s department.
(e) Attorneys.
(f) Persons having the power to arrest or persons who have authority over or control of federal, state, county, or municipal prisoners.
(3) A bail bond agent may not sign or countersign in blank any bond, give a power of attorney to, or otherwise authorize, anyone to countersign his or her name to bonds unless the person so authorized is a licensed and appointed bail bond agent directly employed by the bail bond agent giving such power of attorney.
(4) A place of business, including a branch office, may not be established, opened, or maintained unless it is under the active full-time charge of a licensed and appointed bail bond agent.
(5) Except as between licensed and appointed bail bond agents, a bail bond agent may not divide with others, or share in, any commissions payable on account of any bail bond.
(6)(a) No bail bond agency shall advertise as or hold itself out to be a bail bond or surety company.
(b) Any misleading or false advertisement or deceptive trade practice is prohibited as provided in part IX of chapter 626.
(c) The advertisement of reduced premium rates is prohibited.
(d) After October 1, 2002, a bail bond agency may not use a name that implies a reduced rate of premium.
(e)1. A bail bond agent may not make material misrepresentations or omissions in statements or use advertisements that constitute material misrepresentations of facts, create unjust expectations concerning services, or make improper comparisons.
2. Bail bond agents may not own or advertise under firm names that are false, misleading, or deceptive, or use trade names that imply a connection with any government agency.
3. A bail bond agent may not use any advertisement or advertise under any name that includes the word “free”.
4. A bail bond agent may not advertise under a trade name unless the name and address appear on the agent’s letterhead or business cards. Such name must be registered with the department.
(7) Any permissible advertising by a bail bond agent or agency must include the address of record filed with the department.
(8)(a) A person who has been convicted of or who has pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or country, regardless of whether adjudication of guilt was withheld, may not act in any capacity for a bail bond agency or participate as a director, officer, manager, agent, contractor, or employee of any bail bond agency or office thereof or exercise direct or indirect control in any manner in such agency or office or own shares in any closely held corporation which has any interest in any bail bond business. Such restrictions on engaging in the bail bond business shall continue to apply during a pending appeal.
(b) Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph (a) or any person who knowingly permits a person who has been convicted of or who has pleaded guilty or no contest to a crime as described in paragraph (a) to engage in the bail bond business as prohibited in paragraph (a) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(c) Any law enforcement agency, state attorney’s office, court clerk, or insurer that is aware that a bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent has been convicted of or who has pleaded guilty or no contest to a crime as described in paragraph (a) shall notify the department of this fact.
(d) Upon the filing of an information or indictment against a bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent, the state attorney or clerk of the circuit court shall immediately furnish the department a certified copy of the information or indictment.
(9)(a) Any person who violates any provisions of paragraph (1)(e), paragraph (1)(f), paragraph (1)(g), paragraph (1)(j), or paragraph (1)(n), or subsection (2) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph (1)(a), paragraph (1)(b), paragraph (1)(c), paragraph (1)(h), paragraph (1)(k), paragraph (1)(m), paragraph (1)(o), paragraph (1)(p), subsection (3), subsection (4), or subsection (5) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 16, ch. 29621, 1955; s. 177, ch. 70-339; s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-119; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 22, 71, 72, ch. 82-175; ss. 24, 50, 51, ch. 84-103; s. 26, ch. 85-208; s. 5, ch. 87-321; s. 87, ch. 89-360; ss. 29, 46, 47, ch. 90-131; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 30, ch. 96-372; s. 29, ch. 97-93; s. 1757, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 99-303; s. 10, ch. 2001-64; s. 21, ch. 2002-260; s. 1658, ch. 2003-261; s. 13, ch. 2004-11.
Note.—Former s. 903.52.

Bail Bond Agent Penalties

648.57 Penalty.—Any person or corporation, who is found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, unless a more severe criminal penalty is otherwise provided in this chapter with respect to the specific violation.
History.—s. 22, ch. 29621, 1955; s. 177, ch. 70-339; s. 667, ch. 71-136; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 71, 72, ch. 82-175; ss. 50, 51, ch. 84-103; s. 5, ch. 87-321; ss. 42, 46, 47, ch. 90-131; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

Actions Against Bail Bond Agents

648.45 Actions against a licensee; suspension or revocation of eligibility to hold a license.—
(1) The department shall, upon receipt of an information or indictment, immediately temporarily suspend any license or appointment issued under this chapter when the licensee has been charged with a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or country. Such suspension shall continue if the licensee has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or no contest to, the crime, whether or not a judgment or conviction has been entered, during a pending appeal. A person may not effect any additional bail bonds after suspension of his or her license or appointment. However, he or she may discharge any liability on bonds effected prior to such suspension.
(2) The department shall deny, suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew any license or appointment issued under this chapter or the insurance code, and it shall suspend or revoke the eligibility of any person to hold a license or appointment under this chapter or the insurance code, for any violation of the laws of this state relating to bail or any violation of the insurance code or if the person:
(a) Lacks one or more of the qualifications specified in this chapter for a license or appointment.
(b) Has made a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud in obtaining a license or appointment, or in attempting to obtain a license or appointment.
(c) Has failed to pass any examination required under this chapter.
(d) Has willfully used, or intended the use, of the license or appointment to circumvent any of the requirements or prohibitions of this chapter or the insurance code.
(e) Has demonstrated lack of fitness or trustworthiness to engage in the bail bond business.
(f) Has demonstrated lack of reasonably adequate knowledge and technical competence to engage in the transactions authorized by the license or appointment.
(g) Has engaged in fraudulent or dishonest practices in the conduct of business under the license or appointment.
(h) Is guilty of misappropriation, conversion, or unlawful withholding of moneys belonging to a surety, a principal, or others and received in the conduct of business under a license.
(i) Is guilty of rebating or offering to rebate, or unlawfully dividing or offering to divide, any commission, in the case of a limited surety agent, or premiums, in the case of a professional bail bond agent.
(j) Has willfully failed to comply with or willfully violated any proper order or rule of the department or willfully violated any provision of this chapter or the insurance code.
(k) Has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony, a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or country, whether or not a judgment or conviction has been entered.
(l) Has demonstrated lack of good faith in carrying out contractual obligations and agreements.
(m) Has failed to perform a contractual obligation or agreement with a managing general agent or insurer which results in an unrecovered loss due to nonpayment of a forfeiture or judgment by the licensee.
(n) Has failed to return collateral.
(o)1. Has signed and filed a report or record in the capacity of an agent which the licensee knows to be false or misleading;
2. Has willfully failed to file a report or record required by state or federal law;
3. Has willfully impeded or obstructed such filing; or
4. Has induced another person to impede or obstruct such filing.
Such reports or records shall include only those that are signed in the capacity of a licensed agent.
(p) Has demonstrated a course of conduct or practices which indicate that the licensee is incompetent, negligent, or dishonest or that property or rights of clients cannot safely be entrusted to him or her.
(3) The department may deny, suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew any license or appointment issued under this chapter or the insurance code, or it may suspend or revoke the eligibility of any person to hold a license or appointment under this chapter or the insurance code, for any violation of the laws of this state relating to bail or any violation of the insurance code or for any of the following causes:
(a) A cause for which issuance of the license or appointment could have been refused had it then existed and been known to the department.
(b) Cheating on an examination required for licensure or violating test center rules or examination procedures published orally or in writing at the test site by authorized representatives of the examination program administrator. Communication of test center rules and examination procedures must be clearly established and documented.
(c) Violation of any law relating to the business of bail bond insurance or violation of any provision of the insurance code.
(d) Failure or refusal, upon demand, to pay over to any insurer the bail bond agent represents or has represented any money coming into his or her hands which money belongs to the insurer.
(e) Being found to be a source of injury or loss to the public or detrimental to the public interest or being found by the department to be no longer carrying on the bail bond business in good faith.
(f) Interfering or attempting to interfere with the administration of justice.
(4) Any licensee found to have violated s. 648.44(1)(b), (d), or (i) shall, at a minimum, be suspended for a period of 3 months. A greater penalty, including revocation, shall be imposed if there is a willful or repeated violation of s. 648.44(1)(b), (d), or (i), or the licensee has committed other violations of this chapter.
(5) Grounds for revocation of the license or appointment exist when any licensee is adjudged bankrupt or insolvent.
(6) Suspension, revocation, and refusal to renew a license or appointment issued under this chapter is subject to the procedures provided in s. 648.46.
History.—s. 17, ch. 29621, 1955; s. 3, ch. 57-63; s. 15, ch. 61-406; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 177, ch. 70-339; s. 25, ch. 71-86; s. 167, ch. 73-333; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 25, 71, 72, ch. 82-175; s. 142, ch. 83-216; ss. 27, 50, 51, ch. 84-103; s. 5, ch. 87-321; ss. 33, 46, 47, ch. 90-131; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 34, ch. 96-372; s. 30, ch. 97-93; s. 25, ch. 2002-260; s. 139, ch. 2004-5.
Note.—Former s. 903.53.

Nebbia Bail Bond

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 903
BAIL
View Entire Chapter
903.046 Purpose of and criteria for bail determination.—
(1) The purpose of a bail determination in criminal proceedings is to ensure the appearance of the criminal defendant at subsequent proceedings and to protect the community against unreasonable danger from the criminal defendant.
(2) When determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions may be, the court shall consider:
(a) The nature and circumstances of the offense charged.
(b) The weight of the evidence against the defendant.
(c) The defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, and mental condition.
(d) The defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings. However, any defendant who had failed to appear on the day of any required court proceeding in the case at issue, but who had later voluntarily appeared or surrendered, shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond; and any defendant who failed to appear on the day of any required court proceeding in the case at issue and who was later arrested shall not be eligible for a recognizance bond or for any form of bond which does not require a monetary undertaking or commitment equal to or greater than $2,000 or twice the value of the monetary commitment or undertaking of the original bond, whichever is greater. Notwithstanding anything in this section, the court has discretion in determining conditions of release if the defendant proves circumstances beyond his or her control for the failure to appear. This section may not be construed as imposing additional duties or obligations on a governmental entity related to monetary bonds.
(e) The nature and probability of danger which the defendant’s release poses to the community.
(f) The source of funds used to post bail or procure an appearance bond, particularly whether the proffered funds, real property, property, or any proposed collateral or bond premium may be linked to or derived from the crime alleged to have been committed or from any other criminal or illicit activities. The burden of establishing the noninvolvement in or nonderivation from criminal or other illicit activity of such proffered funds, real property, property, or any proposed collateral or bond premium falls upon the defendant or other person proffering them to obtain the defendant’s release.
(g) Whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of a sentence.
(h) The street value of any drug or controlled substance connected to or involved in the criminal charge. It is the finding and intent of the Legislature that crimes involving drugs and other controlled substances are of serious social concern, that the flight of defendants to avoid prosecution is of similar serious social concern, and that frequently such defendants are able to post monetary bail using the proceeds of their unlawful enterprises to defeat the social utility of pretrial bail. Therefore, the courts should carefully consider the utility and necessity of substantial bail in relation to the street value of the drugs or controlled substances involved.
(i) The nature and probability of intimidation and danger to victims.
(j) Whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release.
(k) Any other facts that the court considers relevant.
(l) Whether the crime charged is a violation of chapter 874 or alleged to be subject to enhanced punishment under chapter 874 or reclassification under s. 843.22. If any such violation is charged against a defendant or if the defendant is charged with a crime that is alleged to be subject to such enhancement or reclassification, he or she is not eligible for release on bail or surety bond until the first appearance on the case in order to ensure the full participation of the prosecutor and the protection of the public.
(m) Whether the defendant, other than a defendant whose only criminal charge is a misdemeanor offense under chapter 316, is required to register as a sexual offender under s. 943.0435 or a sexual predator under s. 775.21; and, if so, he or she is not eligible for release on bail or surety bond until the first appearance on the case in order to ensure the full participation of the prosecutor and the protection of the public.
History.—s. 41, ch. 82-175; s. 42, ch. 84-103; s. 4, ch. 86-151; s. 1476, ch. 97-102; s. 1, ch. 2000-178; s. 18, ch. 2008-238; s. 1, ch. 2013-214; s. 2, ch. 2014-201.

Superbowl Shark Lawsuit

After Katy Perry’s performance in this years Super Bowl, many were left talking about a back up dancer in a shark costume who could not seem to get his moves right. Websites such as Reddit and Twitter were abuzz about the “left shark”. This led to an artist creating a toy character of the left shark. The problem is, Katy Perry has hired law firm Greenberg Traurig to prevent the artist from selling the figurines. A cease and desist letter was sent to the artist claiming infringement of copyright and Katy Perry’s “exclusive rights to reproduce, display, and distribute its copyrighted images under the United States Copyright Act as set forth in 17 U.S.C. 106”. The law firm is seeking an injunction as well as possible statutory and punitive damages. Whether Katy Perry will succeed in her claim, and why, remains to be seen.