Florida Senate - 2015                                    SB 1150
       By Senator Grimsley
       21-01036A-15                                          20151150__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to bail bonds; amending s. 648.285,
    3         F.S.; revising the requirements for a person to own,
    4         control, or otherwise have a pecuniary interest in a
    5         bail bond agency; amending s. 648.34, F.S.; revising
    6         the eligibility requirements for bail bond agent
    7         applicants; amending s. 648.387, F.S.; providing
    8         requirements for primary bail bond agents; amending s.
    9         648.44, F.S.; adding prohibitions to the way a bail
   10         bond agent or temporary bail bond agent solicits
   11         business; requiring a bail bond agent or agency
   12         Internet solicitation to include a physical address;
   13         requiring a fine and temporary license suspension for
   14         specified violations; requiring a fine and revocation
   15         of certain licenses for a second violation; providing
   16         requirements for relicensing; amending s. 903.045,
   17         F.S.; revising legislative intent; amending s. 903.22,
   18         F.S.; providing circumstances under which, while on
   19         bond with the surety, a breach of the bail bond
   20         conditions occurs; amending s. 903.26, F.S.; revising
   21         the circumstances under which a court must discharge a
   22         bond forfeiture; amending s. 903.28, F.S.; deleting a
   23         condition for the remission of bond forfeiture;
   24         reenacting s. 648.285(2), F.S., to incorporate the
   25         amendment made to s. 648.387, F.S., in a reference
   26         thereto; reenacting s. 648.45(4), F.S., to incorporate
   27         the amendment made to s. 648.44, F.S., in a reference
   28         thereto; reenacting s. 903.36(4), F.S., to incorporate
   29         the amendment made to s. 903.045, F.S., in a reference
   30         thereto; providing an effective date.
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   34         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 648.285, Florida
   35  Statutes, is amended to read:
   36         648.285 Bond agency; ownership requirements.—
   37         (1) A person may not own, control, or otherwise have a
   38  pecuniary interest in a bail bond agency unless such individual
   39  has successfully completed the requisite 1-year period as a
   40  temporary bail bond agent and has been fully licensed and
   41  appointed as a limited surety agent or professional bail bond
   42  agent for at least 4 years is a licensed and appointed bail bond
   43  agent. Any agency that is not in compliance with this subsection
   44  shall be subject to the issuance of an immediate final order of
   45  suspension of all operations until the agency achieves
   46  compliance.
   47         Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
   48  648.34, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   49         648.34 Bail bond agents; qualifications.—
   50         (2) To qualify as a bail bond agent, it must affirmatively
   51  appear at the time of application and throughout the period of
   52  licensure that the applicant has complied with the provisions of
   53  s. 648.355 and has obtained a temporary license pursuant to such
   54  section and:
   55         (a) The applicant is a natural person who is at least has
   56  reached the age of 18 years of age, and holds a high school
   57  diploma or its equivalent, and
   58         1. Holds an associate degree from an accredited college,
   59  university, or community college; or
   60         2. Has at least 2 years of continuous full-time experience
   61  in law enforcement or at least 2 years of continuous full-time
   62  experience in the military services and was honorably discharged
   63  before submitting an application.
   64         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 648.387, Florida
   65  Statutes, is amended to read:
   66         648.387 Primary bail bond agents; duties.—
   67         (1) The owner or operator of a bail bond agency shall
   68  designate a primary bail bond agent for each location, and shall
   69  file with the department the name and license number of the
   70  person and the address of the location on a form approved by the
   71  department. Before being designated as a primary bail bond
   72  agent, the bail bond agent must have first completed 2 years of
   73  continuous full-time experience of at least 30 hours of work per
   74  week as a duly licensed and appointed limited surety agent. The
   75  designation of the primary bail bond agent may be changed if the
   76  department is notified immediately. Failure to notify the
   77  department within 10 working days after such change is grounds
   78  for disciplinary action pursuant to s. 648.45.
   79         Section 4. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) and subsection
   80  (9) of section 648.44, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   81         648.44 Prohibitions; penalty.—
   82         (1) A bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent may not:
   83         (b) Directly or indirectly solicit business by a licensed
   84  or unlicensed person in or on the property or grounds of the
   85  residence of the defendant, the defendant’s family, or bond
   86  indemnitor; on the property or grounds of a jail, prison, or
   87  other place where prisoners are confined; or in or on the
   88  property or grounds of any court or the residence of the
   89  detainee or the detainee’s family. The term “solicitation”
   90  includes using the Internet to solicit a magistrate’s court, to
   91  solicit a sheriff’s website, the distribution of business cards,
   92  print advertising, or other written or oral information directed
   93  to prisoners or potential indemnitors by a licensed or
   94  unlicensed person at the jail or residence of the detainee,
   95  unless a request is initiated by the defendant, prisoner or a
   96  potential indemnitor, or an attorney. Permissible print
   97  advertising in the jail is strictly limited to a listing in a
   98  telephone directory and the posting of the bail bond agent’s or
   99  agency’s name, address, and telephone number in a designated
  100  location within the jail. Permissible Internet advertising on a
  101  website must prominently display the bail bond agent’s or
  102  agency’s physical address on the first or front page of all
  103  advertisements.
  104         (9)(a) A Any person who violates any provisions of
  105  paragraph (1)(e), paragraph (1)(f), paragraph (1)(g), paragraph
  106  (1)(j), or paragraph (1)(n), or subsection (2) commits a felony
  107  of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.
  108  775.083, or s. 775.084.
  109         (b) A Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph
  110  (1)(a), paragraph (1)(b), paragraph (1)(c), paragraph (1)(h),
  111  paragraph (1)(k), paragraph (1)(m), paragraph (1)(o), paragraph
  112  (1)(p), subsection (3), subsection (4), or subsection (5)
  113  commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
  114  provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Upon the commission of a
  115  first offense, a fine of up to $10,000 shall be levied against
  116  the offender, and his or her license as a limited surety agent
  117  or professional bail bond agent shall be suspended for 6 months.
  118  Upon the commission of a second offense, a fine of up to $10,000
  119  shall be levied against the offender, and his or her license as
  120  a limited surety agent or professional bail bond agent shall be
  121  revoked. However, notwithstanding any other provision in this
  122  chapter, a person who has had his or her eligibility to hold a
  123  license or appointment revoked for violating this paragraph may
  124  not be granted a bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent
  125  license until he or she demonstrates satisfactory completion of
  126  the limited surety agent and professional bail agent educational
  127  requirements, including serving as a temporary agent in
  128  accordance with s. 648.355.
  129         Section 5. Section 903.045, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  130  read:
  131         903.045 Nature of criminal surety bail bonds.—It is the
  132  public policy of this state and the intent of the Legislature
  133  that a criminal surety bail bond, executed by a bail bond agent
  134  licensed pursuant to chapter 648 in connection with the pretrial
  135  or appellate release of a criminal defendant, shall be construed
  136  as a commitment by and an obligation upon the bail bond agent to
  137  ensure that the defendant appears at all subsequent criminal
  138  proceedings and otherwise fulfills all conditions of the bond.
  139  The failure of a defendant to appear at any subsequent criminal
  140  proceeding related to the case at issue or the breach by the
  141  defendant of any other condition of the bond constitutes a
  142  breach by the bail bond agent of this commitment and obligation.
  143         Section 6. Section 903.22, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  144  read:
  145         903.22 Arrest of principal by surety before forfeiture.—
  146         (1) A surety may arrest the defendant before a forfeiture
  147  of the bond for the purpose of surrendering the defendant or the
  148  surety may authorize a peace officer to make the arrest by
  149  endorsing the authorization on a certified copy of the bond.
  150         (2) The arrest of a defendant for or the charging of a
  151  defendant with a criminal offense other than a minor traffic
  152  violation while on bond with the surety, or his or her
  153  commission of any other violation of a pretrial condition
  154  ordered by the court, constitutes a breach of the bail bond
  155  conditions.
  156         Section 7. Subsection (5) of section 903.26, Florida
  157  Statutes, is amended to read:
  158         903.26 Forfeiture of the bond; when and how directed;
  159  discharge; how and when made; effect of payment.—
  160         (5) The court must shall discharge a forfeiture within 60
  161  days after any of the following upon:
  162         (a) A determination that it was impossible for the
  163  defendant to appear as required due to circumstances beyond the
  164  defendant’s control. The potential adverse economic consequences
  165  of appearing as required are shall not be considered as
  166  constituting a ground for this such a determination.;
  167         (b) A determination that, at the time of the required
  168  appearance, the defendant was adjudicated insane and confined in
  169  an institution or hospital; or was confined in a local, state,
  170  federal, or immigration jail or prison or other detention
  171  center; or is deceased.;
  172         (c) Surrender or arrest of the defendant if the delay has
  173  not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. If the
  174  forfeiture has been before discharge, the court shall direct
  175  remission of the forfeiture. The court shall condition a
  176  discharge or remission on the payment of costs and the expenses
  177  incurred by an official in returning the defendant to the
  178  jurisdiction of the court.
  179         Section 8. Subsection (2) of section 903.28, Florida
  180  Statutes, is amended to read:
  181         903.28 Remission of forfeiture; conditions.—
  182         (2) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 90
  183  days after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon
  184  notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court and
  185  the state attorney as required in subsection (8), must shall
  186  direct remission of up to, but not more than, 100 percent of a
  187  forfeiture if the surety apprehended and surrendered the
  188  defendant or if the apprehension or surrender of the defendant
  189  was substantially procured or caused by the surety, or the
  190  surety has substantially attempted to procure or cause the
  191  apprehension or surrender of the defendant, and the delay has
  192  not thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant. In
  193  addition, remission must shall be granted when the surety did
  194  not substantially participate or attempt to participate in the
  195  apprehension or surrender of the defendant if when the costs of
  196  returning the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court have
  197  been deducted from the remission and if when the delay has not
  198  thwarted the proper prosecution of the defendant.
  199         Section 9. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  200  made by this act to section 648.387, Florida Statutes, in a
  201  reference thereto, subsection (2) of section 648.285, Florida
  202  Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  203         648.285 Bond agency; ownership requirements.—
  204         (2) If the owner of a bail bond agency dies or becomes
  205  mentally incapacitated, a personal representative or legal
  206  guardian may be issued a temporary permit to manage the affairs
  207  of the bail bond agency. Such person must appoint or maintain
  208  the appointment of a primary bail bond agent, as provided in s.
  209  648.387, and may not engage in any activities as a licensed bail
  210  bond agent but must comply with s. 648.387 during the
  211  administration of the estate or guardianship. A temporary permit
  212  is valid for a maximum of 24 months.
  213         Section 10. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  214  made by this act to section 648.44, Florida Statutes, in a
  215  reference thereto, subsection (4) of section 648.45, Florida
  216  Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  217         648.45 Actions against a licensee; suspension or revocation
  218  of eligibility to hold a license.—
  219         (4) Any licensee found to have violated s. 648.44(1)(b),
  220  (d), or (i) shall, at a minimum, be suspended for a period of 3
  221  months. A greater penalty, including revocation, shall be
  222  imposed if there is a willful or repeated violation of s.
  223  648.44(1)(b), (d), or (i), or the licensee has committed other
  224  violations of this chapter.
  225         Section 11. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  226  made by this act to section 903.045, Florida Statutes, in a
  227  reference thereto, subsection (4) of section 903.36, Florida
  228  Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  229         903.36 Guaranteed arrest bond certificates as cash bail.—
  230         (4) The provisions of s. 903.045 applicable to bail bond
  231  agents shall apply to surety insurers and their licensed general
  232  lines agents who execute bail bonds pursuant to this section.
  233         Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.