BOND HEARING AND GETTING OUT OF JAIL

BOND HEARING AND GETTING OUT OF JAIL

In the event you have been arrested whether for a minor offense or a more serious charge you will be taken to a detention center where you will be brought before a magistrate. At that time the arresting officer will present his case against you to the magistrate and request that a warrant be issued holding you for the charge. At the same time the magistrate will evaluate whether you should be released from custody or held. If the decision of the magistrate is that you be held he will determine whether or not to set a bond for your release or whether to hold you without bond.

The magistrate has the power to release you on your own recognizance which essentially means that you will be released on your word to appear in court. He or she also has the power to set a cash bond. The magistrate determines a cash amount that you can deliver to the court that will be held to assure your appearance. If you fail to appear for your court appearance this money is forfeited to the court. The third option available to the magistrate is to hold you without bond. This means that you cannot be released from jail until you appear in court and have a judge set a bond, or until the case is resolved if a judge determines that you should not have a bond. Generally magistrates will set a personal recognizance or cash bond in most cases. A finding of no bond is usually reserved for very serious cases only.

The magistrate is required to determine two criteria in deciding if you will receive bond and in determining what the amount of a bond is going to be. The first is whether you are a flight risk. Information that the magistrate uses to determine this comes from a wide range of factors. If the magistrate determines that you have failed to appear for court appearances in the past he or she is less likely to release you on bond. Also the magistrate will evaluate whether you have a job that would be likely to encourage you to remain in the area and appear for court.  Family ties are also something the magistrate will consider. The more family you have locally the thought is that you are less likely to leave the area and not appear. If you own property locally that is something to be taken into consideration. There is another factor that is often taken into account by magistrates and that is whether you cooperated with the police or if you gave them a hard time. Many times a police officer will recommend to the magistrate that someone not be given bond simply because they were not cooperative. For that reason it is usually better to be respectful with the officer. Please understand that being cooperative does not mean that you should waive your rights or give a confession just so the officer will like you and recommend bond. Remember, giving that kind of information might get you out of jail that night but may very well end with your being convicted and spending a great deal more time in jail. The second criteria used to determine whether you will be given bond is whether you are considered a danger to the community. This determination usually comes into play in more serious cases such as people accused of violent crimes like robbery, assaults, murder and other crimes of that nature. In fact, there are certain crimes where there is an automatic assumption that you should not have bond. In these cases no bond will be set and you will have to appear in court to have a judge set a bond if he or she thinks it is appropriate.

If it has been determined that you are entitled to bond you will be released if you have a personal recognizance bond without putting up money. If it has been determined that you have a cash bond you will either have to give that money to the court in full to be released or you will have to contact a bondsman to put up the money for you. Generally, bondsmen charge a fee of 10% of the bond value as their fee for putting up the bond. This rate can vary. If you put the money up yourself you will have it returned when you appear in court and the case is resolved. If you hire a bondsman the 10% that you give to him will be the fee for writing the bond and you will not get that back. These fees are usually 10% but they can vary as stated.  I’m familiar with several bondmen in your area and can recommend or make arrangements for someone to bond you out and provide you with the best rates available.

If the magistrate sets a bond at a high cash value and you are unable to make the bond even with the help of the bondsman or if the magistrate refuses to set bond you will need to contact a lawyer who can arrange a bond hearing to have a bond set or have it lowered if it is too high for you to pay. Usually bond hearings can be set within one day of the date you are arrested but in some jurisdictions it will be longer and on weekends it will not be set until sometime the following week when court is in session.  I can assist you in getting into court for a bond hearing and have represented many clients in this situation. Generally I’m able to persuade a judge to set a bond that will allow you to get out of jail until your case is resolved. As stated earlier, there are some cases where the client is considered by the court simply too dangerous to be released but these cases are infrequent.

Under normal circumstances your first bond hearing will be in the General District Court unless you are a juvenile or have been directly indicted and bypass the General District Court. If you have a hearing in the General District Court and a reasonable bond is set nothing further needs to be done. If the judge at that level refuses to set a bond or leaves a bond at a level too high for you to pay the matter can be appealed to the Circuit Court where your attorney will have a second opportunity to persuade a different judge to set a bond that you can pay and be released.

I can assist you in obtaining a bondman who will provide you with fair and reasonable rates and that will respond day or night to have you released from jail as soon as possible. If you cannot make bond I can assist you in getting into court quickly where I can have a bond lowered or granted. I have years of experience in handling these matters and stand ready to assist you day or night should the need arise.