Preparing for Bail
The defendant should speak with their family and friends. If they can’t, they should give contact information to their attorney. The time before the hearing is important to retrieve character references. Obtaining witnesses who can help confirm that the defendant is not a flight risk is crucial to help their case. They can do this by gathering records or documents that show they are involved in their community.
What To Expect at the Bail Hearing
The purpose for a bail hearing is for the judge to be aware of the charges. They will then determine the bail. The defendant cannot plead their case at the first hearing. And if they have an attorney, the attorney may not argue the case either. Yet, the attorney can communicate that the defendant is not a flight risk. They also can argue for reducing the amount of bail.
The top two factors that a judge will be looking for to release a defendant are:
- If they are a flight risk or not
- If they are a danger to the community
Factors that may increase bail or make it harder to get out of jail are:
- If the defendant has a record or criminal history
- Their physical and mental condition
- Their involvement in the community
- Their family ties
- Financial income/employment
- The nature of the alleged crime
- If they have an outstanding warrant
- If they had a weapon in possession
- If they are on probation
- If they failed to appear for court in the past
- If they have an immigration issue
A typical bail hearing is quick unless it is a more complicated case. The judge will review the charges and set bail. Then the judge signs a document and writes out the bail amount. If the defendant has the funds, they will sign the bond section to agree that they will appear in court again. This is when the bond is exchanged for their release. In cases where the judge is concerned about public safely, they can set reasonable conditions such as a probation officer, an ankle monitor, or otherwise.
Tips for the defendant during their first hearing:
- They shouldn’t speak unless spoken to
- They should be respectful to everyone
- They should pay attention to their body language – they should look at the judge and not let their eyes wander. Also, standing with crossed arms can look disrespectful, so they should keep their arms straight by their sides.
If you are considering posting bail for a loved one, or have a friend in jail, we hope this has helped. Our goal is to give you better understanding of what to expect. Of course, if you have any other questions about bail bonds, we would be happy to help you.