Nebbia Bond Hearings Increase In Jacksonville Drug, Fraud And Theft Cases

Many times in Jacksonville, immediately before a suspect is arrested, the authorities will seize all of the suspect’s assets. In order to be freed from jail pending trial, the court will set large bail amounts. Sometimes, even if one comes up with the amount of money requested by the court, it is still not enough. Sometimes the court will require a hearing in order to provide testimony as to the source of the funds used for bond.

In Florida, the Court can add a condition on one’s bond known as a Nebbia Hold or Bail Source Hearing. A Nebbia hold requires the defendant and co-signers of the bond (one’s friend or family member) to produce and disclose the source of bail premium and collateral prior to the defendant’s release on bail. imagesnebbia.jpg

In United States v. Nebbia, 357 F.2d 303 (2d Cir. 1966), the court held that when a defendant posted $100,000.00 bail in cash, the trial court was permitted to ask questions about the source of the funds and whether those funds were from a legitimate source. The rationale behind the decision was that if the defendant had acquired the $100,000 through illegal activities such as drug trafficking, theft, money laundering or other fraud, then the funds would give no cause for a defendant to return to court, or change one’s conduct, based on the illegality of how one came about the funds. To put it simply, the court does not want to reinforce bad behavior.

The Nebbia decision has been fine-tuned for Florida, the State Courts having interpreted Florida Statutes and the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, particularly Florida Statute 903.046(2), and Florida Criminal Procedure Rule 3.131(b) to allow a court to question the source of funds used to post bail before release. The State attorney or arresting officer may request a motion for this hold, or the court may set a Nebbia hold at first appearance.

During the Nebbia hearing, the burden of proof is on the Defendant to prove the funds and/or collateral come from a legitimate source. One may do prove one’s bond funds are legitimate by having one’s attorney file an appropriate Nebbia Proffer. The proffer is a written response to the Nebbia Order showing evidence that the funds being used to pay the bond are from legitimate sources, and can include a copy of income statements, check stubs, bank records, mortgage and real estate property records, and other financial records which trace the funds being used to pay the bond to legitimate sources. Once the court is satisfied, either through a hearing or an agreement between the attorneys and the judge, the Court can remove the Nebbia hold and allow one to bond out of jail.

The courts in many counties throughout North Florida, including Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Baker and Clay Counties are now routinely holding Nebbia hearings for bail connected to drug trafficking, fraud and conspiracy cases. An experienced Jacksonville Nebbia bond hearing lawyer can quickly schedule the Hearing, file a Nebbia Proffer, and then file a Petition to Lift the Nebbia Order.

An experienced attorney can help one present the necessary documents to the prosecutor and the court. At the hearing, one’s experienced attorney will present evidence, including documents and testimony, showing the court that the source of the funds to pay the bail is legitimate. There is nothing wrong with borrowing the funds, as long as it can be shown that the loan could be repaid with legitimate funds. Remember, the court must be satisfied that the funds being used to post the bond are from legitimate sources before the Court will lift the Nebbia hold so that the Defendant can bond out of jail; This means one must be cooperative with one’s attorney so that the legitimacy of one’s bond funds can be proven without any further delay.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.