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Bail And Pretrial Release

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When you have been arrested and charged with a crime, your Fourth Amendment right requires you to obtain an initial appearance before a 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. A number of 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.

Bail Basics

Bail is a temporary release from jail of an individual who has been arrested and charged with a crime and is awaiting further proceedings or trial. Bail can be either cash, a bond, or even personal property that the accused provides to the court as a guarantee that he or she will return to court to be tried for the crime when ordered to do so.

When is Bail Set?

The judge is responsible for setting bail, and this generally occurs during the initial appearance within 48 hours after the arrest. However, because many individuals do not want to wait for their trial, often courts will 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. An individual who is permitted to make bail can return home and — in many cases — continue working and taking care of his or her 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.

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What Types of Bail are Potentially Available to You?

There are several different forms of bail, and judges are required to 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 in order 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 then responsible for the full bail amount.

What Types of Bonds are 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 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 to determine 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 and the judge has reviewed the case to ensure that there are no unreasonable risks imposed by the release.

What Types of Conditions May Be Imposed?

In addition to the payment of bail, conditions that are imposed by the judge for the pretrial release can include requirements such as participation in a drug and alcohol program, community service, therapy, and other activities as appropriate for the type of crime the defendant has been charged with.

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How Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Your attorney provides a number of 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 as well as to 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 process of arrest and investigation.

Sample Interview Topics and Questions

At your initial visit with your attorney, he or she will ask a number of questions in order to obtain basic information about you and your past 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 in order to work and support your family, a lack of previous criminal history that would indicate that you fail to return to court or commit a crime, lack of aggravated facts in the police reports, or medical needs that are not well suited in jail.

Violation of Bail Conditions

A violation of bail 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 or felony charge against you and the imposition of new fines, fees, and incarceration. If you have to request bond again, the court will likely double or triple it if you violated your previous conditions.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or
    Summons
    01

    Arrest or
    Summons

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing
    02

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of
    Charges
    03

    Advisement of
    Charges

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)
    04

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing
    05

    Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment
    06

    Arraignment

    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing
    07

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness
    Conference
    08

    Pretrial Readiness
    Conference

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial
    09

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing
    Date
    10

    Sentencing
    Date

    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4-12 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $750,000 but not less than $3,000
  • 3 years of parole
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.

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Getting You To A Better Place Fast

At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

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

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney Near You

Our team of Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers has defended clients against all types of criminal and DUI charges and can provide you with the staunch advocacy you need. Right Law Group is committed to diligently defending your legal concerns.

A criminal charge — no matter what it is — is serious. You want an experienced Colorado Springs criminal law attorney who can offer the legal support you need. We are happy to provide an initial legal consultation at one of our Colorado Springs offices or remotely via video call.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation.