By: C.D. Owens, Esq.
The simple answer to the question above is: once you have your initial
appearance before the Court and/or pay a bond although there are times
that you simply cannot get out. There are certain crimes for which one
is non-bondable; e.g., first-degree murder. Additionally, if you are in
this country illegally or were on probation or parole at the time of your
arrest, you are non-bondable and will be held in custody.
In most circumstances and for most offenses, however, you can be released
either: (1) on your own recognizance subject to some conditions but without
payment of a bond or monitoring by a court or outside agency; (2) subject
to electronic monitoring or under the supervision of Pre-Trial Services;
(3) upon payment/deposit of a certain bond amount to the Court to ensure
your appearance at future court dates; or (4) a combination of monitoring/supervision
and payment of a bond. Bail and bond are used interchangeably in these
circumstances. The use of bonds in felony cases is generally pretty typical.
Bond amounts are sums set at the discretion of the Judge and are dependent
usually on the seriousness and nature of the charges and the risk that
you might try to flee the jurisdiction instead of facing the charges at
future court dates – the more serious the offense and greater the
flight risk, the greater the amount of bond that may be set. For example
a serious Class 2 or 3 felony offense, especially where a defendant has
failed to appear in Court on a previous case, might have a bond set in
the hundreds of thousands of dollars whereas a simple drug possession
case could have a bond of just a few hundred dollars.
Bonds are fully refundable to the person who posts them as long as the
defendant meets all of the conditions of his or her release and attends
all his or her court appearances – if a defendant flees town or
otherwise violates his or her release conditions, then the bond will be
defaulted and the Court takes the money.
Just to be clear, if the initial appearance Judge denies bail, such as
someone charged with first degree murder, or sets a bond for a lesser
offense case that is more than the defendant can afford or raise, then
that defendant will remain in jail during the period of time, which could
be months, until the case is resolved either through a dismissal, acceptance
of a plea offer, or trial.
Even if bail is denied or a high bond is set initially, you can later file
to request that the Court reconsider whether you are truly non-bondable,
reassess the amount of bond, or even whether a bond is necessary and modify
its release orders accordingly especially if you can present further or
additional facts and circumstances that were not considered in its initial
determination regarding your possible release from custody.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, please call
OWENS & PERKINS at
480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.