For most people, being arrested is a traumatic experience. Finding yourself behind bars for the first time is not a pleasant experience. Understandably, if you find yourself in this position, your first concern is to get out of jail. With very few exceptions, everyone arrested and accused of a criminal offense has a bond set. If the bond is paid, the defendant is released from custody and allowed to remain out of custody while the case is pending unless he/she does something to warrant a return to custody. What happens if your bond is too high for you, or your loved ones, to pay? Can criminal attorneys get your bond reduced? Because every case is unique, there is no universal answer to that question; however, it is possible for a criminal attorney to get you a reduction in the bond set in your case.
How Is an Initial Bond Amount Determined?
The bond set in a criminal case can be set before the defendant is arrested, or after an arrest. If the defendant is arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant signed by a judge, the judge typically sets the bond amount at the time the warrant is signed. This usually happens when the arrest is the product of an ongoing criminal investigation and the police believe they now have enough evidence to make an arrest. If, however, a suspect is arrest at the scene of a crime, or shortly thereafter, bond is set at the time the suspect is booked into the jail. This occurs in cases such as a driving under the influence case or an assault case when a lengthy investigation is not involved.
Until relatively recently, bond amounts were seemingly random. Bond commissioners at the jail, or judges at preliminary hearings, would set bond amounts based on a number of subjective criteria. Because of the obvious disparity in bonds, most states, including the State of Nebraska, have now implemented a bond matrix or schedule that is intended to result in more uniform bond amounts. These schedules take into account more objective criteria, such as the severity of the most serious offense charged and the defendant’s previous convictions, when determining a bond amount.
How Do Criminal Attorneys Get a Bond Reduced?
Although the implementation of bond schedules has produced more uniform initial bond amounts, it is still possible for a criminal attorney to get your initial bond reduced. One the attorney has been retained, he/she will file a motion for a bond review. The court will then set the matter for a hearing. At the hearing, your attorney can present testimony and make an argument for a reduction in your bond amount. Things the court may consider when reducing your bond include:
- The fact that you hired an attorney because it shows you are committed to defending yourself, making it more likely you will show up for future court appearances.
- Your previous record of court appearances (if applicable). If you have never failed to appear before that is in your favor.
- Your employment and/or school records. If you have a job or school that will suffer if you remain in custody it helps.
- Family in the community. A defendant is less likely to flee if he/she has a family with deep ties to the community.
- A support group. If family and friends show up for your hearing it may show the judge that you have a support group in the community that will help you remain out of trouble while your case is pending.
- Your willingness, and ability, to abide by any supervision the court imposes, such as electronic monitoring or an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
Your criminal defense attorney will make an argument to the judge in an attempt to convince the judge that you are not a danger to the community and that you will return for all future court dates. The prosecuting attorney will usually argue against a reduction in bond. Ultimately, the judge will make the decision.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska and you are unable to pay the current bond set in your case, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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