If you find yourself in trouble with the law, or your family member, friend, or loved one has a run-in, you may be wondering how a bail bonds hearing works. In most cases, a bail bonds hearing is part of the process after an arrest, although that isn’t always the case with very minor crimes, where individuals are released without bond to attend a hearing at a later date.
However, understanding the bond process is not always easy, and it can be a little scary for many people who find themselves in trouble with the law, or for the individuals looking to help someone they care about stay out of jail.
Use this guide to help you understand how a bail bonds hearing works and what the process will be like. While bond hearings vary from place to place, they generally follow the same basic pattern everywhere.
Before a bond hearing
In most states, bail is set without a bail bonds hearing for minor crimes that are not likely to result in serious jail time. For example, the state of California has a bail schedule that has a set amount during specific times of year. Other states and counties have this system as well, though it isn’t a universal system that is used all over the country.
In places where there is no bail schedule in place, a bail hearing will be necessary to determine the amount the defendant must put up in order to be released.
Individuals who are being held in a federal jail also need to have a bond hearing before they can be released in all cases, because the offenses that put somebody in federal jail are generally much more serious.
When will a bond hearing occur?
Most areas hold bond hearings several times per day because they have rules that require the hearing to happen within 24 hours of the arrest. However, there are some areas where bond hearings can take up to two to three business days, particularly in bigger cities where immediate bond hearings may not be possible because of the amount of arrests being made each day.
An attorney may be able to help you move your bond hearing up if you have one and can contact them. The same attorney may be able to help you get a reduced bond amount so that you don’t have to pay as much back or put up as much collateral.
What is a bond hearing for?
A bond hearing is set after a person is arrested to figure out how much money they should have to pay in order to be released from jail. While most people don’t pay a bond out of pocket – they go to a reputable bail bondsman instead – the court does get that money from somebody, at least in the form of a promissory, which is not from the issuer.
Bonds are given partly in order to ensure that a person who is being released from custody will show up for the court day. If they do not show up in court on the date set for arraignment or trial, they will forfeit their bond and whatever collateral that they put up with a bondsman.
How do bond hearings work?
A judge is usually present during a bond hearing since they typically take place within a court room. However in some cases, the judge may not actually be there in person in court and bond hearings can be done with the judge in a remote setting. While this isn’t relatively common, it does happen from time to time, especially in areas where a lot of bond hearings are scheduled on a regular basis.
During the bond hearing, variety of factors will be taken into account to see if the person being held requires bail bonds, how much the bond should be, and if they can be released at all. Among the most important factors is the nature of the crime, which is generally related to how serious the crime committed was. Serious offenses are more likely to result in higher bail amounts, or no bail at all.
The judge will also look at a person’s ties to the community, history of violent behavior, overall mental health, and prior criminal record. In drug or alcohol-related cases, a history of substance abuse may also be taken into account.
Generally, the more responsible a person’s past is, the more likely they are to be released without bail bonds.