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Criminal Defense / May 01,2024

The Role of Your Criminal Defense Attorney in the Bail Process

The Bail Process Explained

Bail is an amount of money or property set by a judge or magistrate to be deposited with the court by a person who has been arrested in order to secure their release and promise that they will appear at court proceedings. The amount set by the judge or magistrate is proportionate to the magnitude of the crime that has been committed. 

The process of bail was put in place to avoid unjust punishment of the innocent pending trial while also keeping those accused of dangerous crimes in detention until trial.

Different Types of Bail Options 

The most common bail bond options are cash, property and surety bonds. Cash bail is set and held by the court to ensure your appearance at future court proceedings. Property bond allows you to place a lien on your property to secure your bail. 

Lastly, a surety bond is a way of guaranteeing your appearance through an insurance company when you cannot afford the full amount of the bail.

Cash Bond

In a cash bond, the court sets a cash bond amount, sometimes as low as 10% of the full bail amount. Again, the cash bond is determined by the gravity of the offense.  Either the defendant or a family member then pays the bond amount to the court guaranteeing appearance. If the defendant fails to appear at his scheduled court dates, the cash bond is forfeited. 

If the cash is available to you, this is by far the best bond option, since it is only between the defendant and the court.

Property Bond

In the case of a property bond, the defendant or a family member places their property (home, land, commercial property, etc) as collateral for the bond and a lien is placed against the property pending the defendant’s court appearance. The owner is allowed to retain ownership and use of the property in the time leading up to the court appearance. Once the defendant attends the scheduled court date, the lien will be released. 

However, if the defendant fails to appear at the scheduled court proceedings, the property will be foreclosed on. One crucial limitation on the use of the property bond is that the property value must be equal to 1.5 to 2 times the amount of the bail that has been set. Also, if the foreclosure sale on the property does not bring an amount equal to the bail, the defendant will still be responsible for paying the difference.

Surety Bond

A surety bond is obtained through a bail agent and an insurance company. It can be the most obtainable way to pay bail since the payment options can be very flexible. Basically, the bail bond agent guarantees to the court that the defendant will appear for his or her scheduled appearances using the collateral of the surety bond for the guarantee. 

With a financial stake involved, the bail bond agent is invested in making sure that the defendant appears in court. They often require a verifiable list of contacts beforehand and will retain the right to find the defendant and bring him or her to court if he or she does not appear on their own.

How Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help with Bail

Typically, a bail hearing is the first time the defendant will see the courtroom. Having a criminal defense attorney by his or her side is crucial. An experienced criminal defense attorney can:

  • Argue that the defendant should be released to his or her own recognizance
  • If necessary, request a bail reduction hearing
  • Show reasons why the defendant is not a risk, such as:
    • Financial situation
    • Family responsibilities
    • Reputation and roots in the community
    • Character references
    • No previous criminal record
  • Help explore affordable bail options 
  • Communicate with family members to obtain bail

What if You Don’t Make Bail?

If bail is denied, there are still options. Your attorney can request a bail review, where another judge or magistrate will determine if you qualify for bail. If you are again denied bail, then your attorney will request a bail hearing, where the prosecution and defense present their cases as to why you should be granted bail. If you are again denied, you will remain in pre-trial detention until your trial date.

Pre-Trial Detention

Because you are still presumed innocent and it violates due process, pre-trial detention is generally reserved for flight risks and defendants who pose a threat to others. If you are ordered to remain in pre-trial detention and you find yourself with extremely limited communication with the outside world, having an experienced criminal defense attorney is more important than ever. 

Your attorney will advise you on any options you have in plea bargains and deals that can shorten your time served. Your attorney will communicate with you and your family any updates on your case and help you to prepare for the upcoming trial. In the meantime, they will be building a defense, interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence. Most importantly, they will be working to get you free.

Contact Flesch & Beck Criminal Defense Today!

If you find yourself or a family member in need of an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney, contact Flesch & Beck Criminal Defense now! 

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