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Nebbia Hearing

When you’re arrested in Florida, you are jailed until what’s called your “first appearance” before a judge. At your first appearance, which usually occurs within 24 hours of your arrest, the judge may set a bond amount. Paying the bond amount is usually sufficient to get you out of jail until your next court date. 

An exception to this process is known as the Nebbia hold. Until recently, this hold prevented defendants charged with certain crimes from being released until the origin of the bond funds could be verified at a Nebbia hearing.

It is no longer necessary for a defendant to be jailed while awaiting a Nebbia hearing. If someone you know is subject to a Nebbia hold, you may be able to get them out quickly. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know what to do. 

Defense Attorney for Nebbia Hearing in Palm Beach County

The team at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. has years of experience with Nebbia holds and hearings. A recent ruling on a court case affirms Florida does not require holding someone until their Nebbia hearing. In fact, the Florida Constitution grants the right to pre-trial release. We offer a free consultation to discuss how to get your friend or family member out of jail. We can also advise you on how to satisfy the Nebbia hold.

Call (561) 557-8686 or fill out our short online form. We accept inquiries every day of the week at any time. It’s important that you contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. immediately if your loved one is in jail awaiting a Nebbia hearing. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents South Florida clients from Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Lake Park, and other communities in Palm Beach County. Don’t wait – contact us now.


Overview of Nebbia Hearing in West Palm Beach, Florida


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What Is a Nebbia Hearing?

Until recently, a defendant who had been arrested and jailed could legally be detained until the source of bail funds could be verified at a special hearing called a Nebbia hearing. This was often done for defendants charged with committing a crime from which they profited illegally. Defendants detained while awaiting a Nebbia hearing were subject to what was called a Nebbia hold. 

The Nebbia hearing takes its name from a landmark court case, United States v. Nebbia, 357 F.2d 303. The defendant in this case was accused of attempting to import an enormous quantity of heroin into the United States. As a result, it was reasonable to suspect some of the defendant’s money was earned illegally. 

The decision in Nebbia enabled the detention of suspects until the source of their bail bond funds could be investigated. The idea was if the defendant had to use legitimately earned money for bail, there would be a smaller chance of the defendant fleeing while awaiting trial.

A February 2018 ruling in an appellate court case set a new precedent for Nebbia hearings. In Casiano v. State, the court ruled a suspect cannot be automatically detained while the court investigates the source of money used to pay for bail bonds. The following exceptions apply: 

  • A motion for pre-trial detention was filed;
  • Suspects charged with life or capital offenses are not eligible for pre-trial release if substantial proof or presumption of their guilt exists; and
  • If the suspect’s presence at trial and the safety of the community cannot be ensured, then a pre-trial release will not occur.

An experienced criminal defense attorney will be well-equipped to determine if your loved one is eligible for pre-trial release.


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How Do You Remove a Nebbia Hold in Palm Beach County?

Removing a Nebbia hold is a fairly straightforward process for a knowledgeable attorney. The attorney must file a Proffer and Petition to Lift the Nebbia Order. The Proffer will contain proof the money used to pay for the bail bond was not obtained through illegal means. The defendant may need to provide documentation for the funds on request.

If the prosecutor signs off on the motion, it is often possible to lift the Nebbia hold immediately. If the prosecutor does not agree, then your attorney must set an emergency hearing to argue the motion before the judge.


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Additional Resources

United States v. Nebbia | OpenJurist – Visit this website to read the appellate court decision that established precedent for Nebbia holds. This appeal was decided March 1966 in the United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit. Here you can view the majority opinion as presented by Judge Leonard P. Moore. You can also read the dissenting opinion from Judge Sterry R. Waterman.

Casiano v. State | Leagle – Here you can read the appeals decision that largely overturned the long-running Nebbia hold procedure. The opinion for this case was filed in Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in February 2018. The opinion upholds the constitutional right to pre-trial release and provides exceptions to this right. 


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Defense Lawyer for Nebbia Hearing in West Palm Beach

If your loved one is currently awaiting a Nebbia hearing, contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We will review their case and determine whether proper procedure was followed. Our passionate criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to get you and your loved one the best possible result.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Call (561) 557-8686 or complete our short online form. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients in West Palm Beach, South Bay, Wellington, and other Palm Beach County communities. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call now.


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