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Bail And Pretrial Release

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When arrested and charged with a crime, your Fourth Amendment right requires you to obtain an initial appearance before a district court judge within 48 hours.

At this initial appearance, the judge will review the charges against you and determine whether there is probable cause to hold you.

Many different types of information will be shared with you, including a copy of the charges against you and a notice of your legal rights. The judge will also consider whether to set bail or pretrial release.

In the second part of this surviving arrest series, we’ll cover what you need to know about bail and pretrial release. For more help, it’s best to seek the advice of a Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney.

Bail is a temporary release from jail of an individual arrested and charged with a crime and awaiting further court proceedings or a pending trial.

Bail can be either cash, a bond, or even personal property that the accused provides to the court as a guarantee that they will return to court to be tried for the crime when ordered to do so.

When Is Bail Set?

The way bail works is a judge is responsible for setting the bail amount, which generally occurs during the initial appearance within 48 hours after the arrest. This is often referred to as a pretrial detention hearing.

However, because many individuals do not want to wait for their trial, courts will often provide a standard bail schedule for common crimes so that bail can be provided almost immediately.

Why Is Bail Important?

Courthouse schedules are often booked months in advance. Individuals permitted to make bail can return home and—in many cases—continue working and taking care of their family and other obligations while awaiting trial. Bail also saves the city money that would have been spent caring for the prisoner during the time between the arrest and trial.

What Types of Bail Are Potentially Available to You?

There are several different forms of bail, and judges must offer defendants at least two options for pretrial release. Here is a look at some of the forms of bail that may be available.

Release on Bond

A bond is a financial agreement in which an individual or entity agrees to pay all or a portion of the bond for the defendant to be released. If the defendant fails to return to court when ordered, the individual or entity who paid the bond is responsible for the full bail amount.

Types of Bonds Available

The following types of bonds are available for those who intend to use the bond option for pretrial release:

  • Insurance Company Bond — The bond is paid by a bail bondsman. In exchange, you pay a non-refundable fee or premium and deposit collateral to the company
  • Surety Bond — The bond is paid by a friend or family member. Surety bonds can be secured, meaning the individual has paid the full bond amount; partially secured, meaning the person pays part of the bond; or unsecured, when no money is paid upfront.
  • Appearance Bond — This type of bond involves the accused either paying the full amount of the bond, paying a portion of the bond, or paying no money up front.

Release on Personal Recognizance (PR Bond)

Release on personal recognizance is a method of pretrial release in which the judge permits the defendant to be released provided he or she meets certain pretrial release conditions. 

The person only has to pay a minimal fee upfront, usually $35, but then must promise to appear in court. Judges look at a person’s criminal history, facts of the case, ties to the community, and many other factors in determining if this kind of bond should be granted.

When Is a Release on Conditions Available?

A release on conditions is generally offered at the initial appearance, provided the defendant’s attorney has requested this type of bail. The judge has reviewed the case to ensure that the release imposes no unreasonable risks.

Types of Conditions That May Be Imposed

In addition to the payment of bail, the conditions of release imposed by the judge can include requirements such as:

  • Participation in a drug and alcohol program
  • Community service
  • Therapy
  • Regular check-ins with pretrial services officers
  • Travel restrictions
  • Electronic monitoring
  • No-contact orders with victims or witnesses
  • Drug or alcohol monitoring and testing
  • Firearms restrictions
  • Curfew
  • Participation in treatment programs
  • Surrender of passport
  • No new arrests
  • Other activities as appropriate for the type of crime the defendant has been charged with.

Note that the specific conditions may vary depending on the nature of the charges and the defendant’s circumstances.

How Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Your criminal defense attorney provides several valuable services, before the hearing, during litigation, and even after your case has been resolved.

Before the Hearing

Before the hearing, your attorney will meet with you to obtain information about you and learn more about the charges against you. Your legal team will begin investigating the case, gathering facts, and ensuring that your civil rights have been protected during the arrest and investigation process.

Sample Interview Topics and Questions

At your initial visit with your attorney, they will ask many questions to obtain basic information about you and your criminal history.

This information can include:

  • Residential information
  • Employment information
  • Who depends on you for support?
  • Your criminal history
  • Other information such as any medications you take and any recent hospitalizations you’ve had.

At the Hearing

During your initial appearance, your attorney will present facts that favor your pretrial release.

Some of the facts that are often used include:

  • The need for you to remain out of jail to work and support your family
  • A lack of previous criminal history would indicate that you failed to return to court or commit a crime
  • Lack of aggravated facts in the police reports
  • Medical needs that are not well suited in jail.

Violation of Bail Conditions

A violation of bail and pretrial release conditions occurs when the defendant fails to show up to court when ordered or otherwise fails to meet the obligations imposed by bail.

Violating bail conditions for either a misdemeanor or felony charge will result in an additional misdemeanor charge or felony charge against you and the imposition of new fines, fees, and incarceration.

If you must request a bond again, the court will likely double or triple it if you violated your previous conditions.

Don’t Let One Wrong Decision Impact Your Life, Job or Freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of pretrial release?

Pretrial release allows the defendant to return to their home and their community while waiting for their trial. This is part of the right to due process that is awarded to Americans by the constitution. Provided the judge believes the defendant does not pose a danger to the community, and that they are likely to return for their court dates, the judge will likely provide a possibility of pretrial release so that the defendant can continue to work, support their family, and etc.

What is the most common form of pretrial release?

In most criminal cases, commercial bail is the most common form of pretrial release.

How do judges determine bail?

Judges will take several factors into consideration when determining bail in a criminal case. They will initially follow a bail schedule based on the charges, but then they have the ability to raise or lower this amount. Factors that can impact bail amount include:

  • The severity of the crime
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • Ties to the community
  • Risk to public safety
  • The potential that the defendant is a flight risk

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