The Pretrial Services Division is designed to divert criminal defendants from pretrial incarceration. It provides complete, accurate and non-adversarial information to the judges of the 17th Judicial Circuit to improve the release/detention decision process in compliance with Florida Statutes and the Rules of Criminal Procedures. Additionally, the program supervises pretrial defendants in the community in partnership with law enforcement and outside agencies, ensuring that mandated conditions and court ordered special requirements are satisfied.
The process begins with the program's Interview and Investigation Unit, which screens and interviews defendants for release consideration based on stringent criteria. Specialists conduct personal interviews prior to the magistrate process, verify and confirm background information through a number of databases and provide judges with relevant information to assist in the release and detention decisions. Defendants who are deemed qualified for release are recommended to the magistrate court judge for consideration. If granted release, defendants are then placed into one of BSO's Supervision Programs, where they are required to abide by stringent program and special court-ordered conditions and are held accountable for their behavior and compliance. Those three levels include the Standard Supervision Program, Intermediate Supervision and Electronic Monitoring/House Arrest Unit.
The Standard Supervision Program monitors the activities of felony and misdemeanor defendants via telephone check-in, office and home visits and court reminder letters. Defendants are held accountable to abide by all release conditions and special conditions of the court to include counseling, urinalysis and any number of other requirements.
The Intermediate Supervision Unit conducts supervision of defendants through more frequent contact. Full-time employment is required and verified. Defendants requiring assistance are referred to Community based programs.
The Electronic Monitoring/House Arrest Program offers the most intensive form of supervision. Defendants are placed on a curfew and are allowed to leave the confines of the residence only when authorized by specialists. This unit uses the most advanced methods of enforcement, including radio frequency tracking, remote alcohol testing and drive-by monitoring, active and passive GPS. Defendants are monitored 24 hours per day.
For more information, please contact the Pretrial Services Division at (954) 765-4251.