Pre-trial release agreements are almost similar to bail bonds. A pre-trial release has several benefits:
- Funded by taxpayers
- No one is financially responsible for the defendant after their release
- Can be used in violent, felony cases
What does pre-trial release mean?
A pre-trial release is a government organization that obtains the release of defendants from a local jail without requiring them to post a bond. The defendant does not have to commit any funds to be released, only a promise to appear in court.
Who pays for a pre-trial release?
Pre-trial release programs are funded by taxpayers and used to obtain the release of defendants charged with various crimes. Although similar to a commercial bail bond, the defendant doesn’t have to contribute to obtain their release.
When is a pre-trial release used?
Pre-trial release programs are used to obtain the release of individuals charged with both misdemeanors and felonies. In the past, they were used for criminals with minor charges, but now, even a violent offender can obtain one.
What happens after a defendant is released?
Defendants must promise to appear in court at their hearing. Some do not and eventually become fugitives.
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Who is financially liable for the defendant after released?
No one is financially responsible for the defendant or to ensure that they appear in court.
Who finds defendants who fail to appear?
If a defendant fails to appear, local authorities are called upon to find and return them. They are not high on the list of priorities.
Does a pre-trial release penalize taxpayers?
Taxpayers are penalized first by having to pay for the defendant’s release, and secondly, for their return if they fail to appear.
What are pre-trail release conditions?
Rules or conditions of pre-trial release vary by state and even by county. Some pre-trail release programs focus only on general bond conditions to achieve certain objectives that include safety of the victim, protection from crime and ensuring defendant’s appearance in court. These conditions depend on the nature of the crime.
For assaultive offenses, pre-trail release conditions include not to travel to certain locations and not to contact the victim. For DWI charges, an ignition interlock device may be installed while the defendant is on pre-trail release. Some programs can be even more intensive wherein the defendant has to report weekly, submit a DNA sample, go through regular drug testing and counseling.
Also Read: Failure in Court Appearance- This is What Happens Next
Also Read: How to Post a Bail in Federal Court
When a citizen is detained by law enforcement officials, there will be a court date he will have to attend to formally hear the complaint of the criminal charges in his case. He will be expected to plea “guilty,” “not guilty,” or no contest if it is available. At this time, the judge will set a bail amount if the suspect does not appear to be a danger to society or a flight risk. Since the individual is accused of a crime, he or she must be detained.
Bail grants the individual release until the court renders judgment. If the individual cannot pay the entire bail amount, he or she can request services from a bail bondsman. He pays the bondsman a percentage of the bail to grant release until he appears in court again.
If the client feels that his bail is too high and would like a reduction, he must go through a bail reduction hearing. His attorney has to get the case in front of the judge and it could be beneficial:
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The bail bondsman would provide testimony in favor of the individual.
Once the bail reduction consideration hearing has been set, the bondsman must approve your lowered amount for bond.
To be prepared for the hearing, you must have the following documents: pay stubs, mortgages, and deeds. The court, as well as the bondsman, will need to see all income and expenses.
The individual should provide all of the information to the bondsman and lawyer beforehand.
Choosing a good bondsman is vital
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The judge favors an experienced bondman’s opinion
He also needs to feel that the bondsman can find you if you flee
The bondsman should provide a check in schedule for the individual to follow, so that the judge would be comfortable in reducing bail.
Your first appearance in the court is called an arraignment. Hiring a bail bondsman may not be enough to fully protect yourself in court, so you will want to be prepared for what will occur during your arraignment. There have been many instances in which arraignments are unpredictable. Here are a few things to expect during this process:
The judge will formally tell you what the specific charges are against you. Knowing what you are accused of is protected by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. The court will also advise you of all of your Constitutional rights.
You may enter a plea, either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. These pleas depend on the crime and what your lawyer advises you to do, if you need one.
Related Article: What You Should Know Before Pleading No Contest
A future trial date is set if applicable.
Bail and release issues are settled. The bail amount is determined by a number of factors in serious cases, such as flight risk, danger to others, etc. Usually for small offenses that require a bond or bail being posted, the amount is relatively low. Some bail bond companies arrange to have a bondsman present at the arraignment, so that they can post bail for you even if the amount has gone up.
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You have a right to an attorney even if you can’t afford one, so if your case is serious, get a public defender to help you. A bonds agent can only help you post bail; they are not there to give you legal advice. Make sure you know your rights and your options are clear.
The American justice system was founded on the simple principal that all defendants in court are innocent until proven guilty. This means that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This presumed innocence means that some defendants do not need to suffer punishment until a verdict is handed down. Sometimes defendants are held in jail while waiting for their trial to begin. This is where the bondsman comes in.
In some cases, the general public’s safety must be taken into account. For serious crimes such as homicide, the defendant is deemed a flight risk or a danger to the public and thus must be held in jail while awaiting trial. However the vast majority of defendants does not pose this risk and may be released on bail until their day in court. Bondsmen assure that these defendants get the rights they deserve and ensure that no punishments reach their clients until a verdict is handed down.
Sometimes the bail for a defendant is too much for that person to actually be released. A bondsman ensures that no loss of property such as the defendant’s house or other personal property of his or his family’s is not lost when posting bail. Bondsman charges a percentage of the bond in exchange for returning nonviolent defendants to their families and loved ones. Bondsmen ensure that no one is unduly punished for their crimes while protecting the families of these defendants from going broken attempting to release them on bail.
They protect the central pillar of the American judicial system, that defendants are innocent until proven guilty. They ensure that this tenet is protected in every day practice. They help defendants and their families live normal lives while their future is still being decided by the legal system. A bondsman helps these families.