A certain condition known as the “Nebbia Hold” can be added to a bond by the judge of the state court at the first appearance of a defendant. With the Nebbia Hold or Nebbia requirement, the court can inquire about the source of funds used for the bond. Nebbia Hold presents a problem for the person charged because it delays their release from custody. An experienced bail bond agent can make sure that the release of a person is not delayed by the Nebbia Hold.
Why Nebbia Hold?
Oftentimes, a Nebbia Hold is used in drug trafficking cases where the person is accused of dealing with large quantities of drugs involving large payments. The reason is that the court feels that since a person has a lot of money, it will be easy for them to bond out and will not come for their court appearance. So, a Nebbia Hold is placed on the client, which means that until a Nebbia hearing is scheduled, the client cannot bond out.
How Nebbia Hold Came to Be?
The term Nebbia comes from the case U.S. vs Nebbia, 357 F.2d 303 (2d Cir.1966). In this case, the court held that when an amount of $100,000 was posted by the defendant in bail, the trial court had the right to inquire about the source of funds. The rationale behind this decision was that if the $100,000 was acquired by the defendant through illegal activities like drug trafficking, then he would not return to the court.
Due to this reason, the Nebbia Hold decision is now applicable on Federal cases. However, the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and Florida Statutes, specifically Rule 3.131(b) and Section 903.046(2) have been interrupted by the Florida State Courts to authorize courts to question the client’s source of funds used for the bail before release.
The arresting officer or prosecutor can request a motion of the Nebbia Hold or the court can set it at the client’s first appearance. In a Nebbia Hold initiated by the court, the condition of Nebbia Hold can be added to the arrest warrant, however there is some disagreement in Florida law on whether the law allows this kind of procedure or not.
An experienced bail bond agent can help present the necessary documents to the court and prosecutor so that the Nebbia Hold can be lifted. If this is done properly, there is a chance that the prosecutor will agree to stipulate the Nebbia Hold being lifted and hearing will not be required. However, if the prosecutor doesn’t agree, then the Nebbia hearing will be scheduled.
At the Nebbia Hearing, the defendant must prove to the judge that the source of the bail money is not from an illegal source or from profits of criminal activities such as money laundering, drug trafficking, fraud or theft and came from a legitimate source. A bail bond agent can help the defendant gather necessary paperwork for the Nebbia Hold hearing.
The Court or State Attorney’s Office should never use Nebbia Hold to detail a person who has posted bond already.
Motions Filed to Reduce the Bond
In addition to a motion to lift the Nebbia Hold, a motion to reduce the amount of the bond is also filed. The purpose of this bond motion is to declare to the court that the ties of the defendant to case’s circumstances and the community make it highly unlikely that he/she would try to flee the jurisdiction. With the bond motion, the court may decide to lower the amount of the bond or release the defendant on his/her own recognizance or signature.
In many cases, the defendant is able to save money by getting the motion for bond reduction filed by an attorney. Having the amount of the bond reduced proves to be less expensive for the defendant than posting a high bond. Even in cases in which the court is holding the defendant without bond, motion filed for bond reduction can convince the court to set a reasonable bond.
How Common is Nebbia Hold?
In different counties of Florida, including Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, and Hillsborough Country, judges now routinely impose Nebbia Hold in cases that involve fraud, conspiracy and drug trafficking.
What if the funds of the Bond Were Borrowed?
If the funds of the bond premium were borrowed, then the defendant must prove to the court that they borrowed the money to pay for the bond. You don’t have to worry if you borrowed the funds, since the court takes a liberal view about that and any type of financial statements, tax returns or real estate records, anything that was used for the bond premium is sufficient to have the Nebbia Hold lifted.
What is Nebbia Proffer?
A written response to the Nebbia Hold that provides the proof that the source of funds used for paying the bond are not illegal is called the Nebbia Proffer. A bail bond agent can prepare a Nebbia Proffer for you and mostly little documentation is needed. Sometimes, the person that has posted the funds might be required to include a copy of income statements, bank records, real estate or mortgage property records and any other financial evidence which can show that the funds that are being used for paying the bond are from legal source.
Will the Family or Friends of the Defendant be Required to Testify?
In most cases, family and friends of the defendant are not required to testify. However, if the prosecutor doesn’t agree to lift the Nebbia Hold based on the Nebbia proffer, then the one who has provided the funds for the bond may be asked to testify. An experienced bail bond agent who is familiar with the Nebbia requirements can make this process simple and quick to ensure that you don’t face any unnecessary delay.