Significant controversy has swirled recently around the setting of bail. A growing number of advocates have argued that bail results in the incarceration of individuals presumed to be innocent based on the false premise that the person presents a flight risk. When setting bail bonds in Nebraska without considering the defendant’s financial means, fee schedules often create unfair circumstances.
Omaha criminal defense attorney Tom Petersen and his team with Petersen Criminal Law are available 24 hours per day to help you with arranging bonds in Omaha. Tom can use his wealth of experience and knowledge to help you get out of jail so you can help him prepare the best defense for your Nebraska criminal case.
How Is Bond Set?
If you need help with bond money in Omaha, you should know how the court or a magistrate sets a bond. Bond is set at the police station upon arrest, or a judge could set it at the individual’s first court appearance. A hearing is required to set bond on all felony cases. Misdemeanor cases have scheduled bonds that are assigned at the police station. Bonds must be posed directly at the jail or, in some counties, may be posed with the clerk of court.
Who Can Be Required to Post Bond?
Nebraska’s bond law sets out the presumption that any person under arrest who is bailable should be released on their personal recognizance and not be held on a bail bond in Nebraska. However, personal recognizance bonds are rarely ordered and posing of money is generally required. The judge has the discretion to set bond if the judge believes that the person
- Poses a high risk of flight;
- Is a danger to the alleged victim, witnesses, or the community at large; or
- Could destroy evidence.
The court must examine the history of the accused, their criminal history, the number of appearance defaults they have had, and the seriousness of the criminal charges when considering bail. The judge will look closely at all of the information to determine if the person is a danger or a significant flight risk.
Nebraska law makes it clear that the judge must consider the individual’s ability to afford bond when ruling on whether the individual should be placed on personal recognizance. If the judge rules the bond is warranted, then the judge must place the person on the least restrictive means of release to ensure that the person returns to court and does not pose a danger to anyone or the community.
What Conditions Can the Judge Set?
The judge setting bond could impose numerous conditions on the accused when setting terms of release. The options a court has are:
- Placing the individual with a person or organization that promises to take custody while on release;
- Restricting with whom the person may associate and where he or she can go;
- Requiring the accused to live in a particular residence; and
- Order pretrial release supervision or the 24/7 monitoring program.
The order of the court could be a combination of bond and conditions of release. The judge might also add conditions, like restricting their contact with certain people or requiring them to stay away from certain places, if warranted by the crimes alleged. A violation of the terms of release could force a judge to increase the bond or incarcerate the accused without bond.
Where Does the Bond Money Go?
Posting bond means to giving an amount of money to the court in exchange for the person’s release. The person posting an appearance bond must pay 10% of the full bond amount to the jail or, in some counties, the court clerk. The court clerk will retain a percentage of that amount when the case is closed after an acquittal, dismissal, or conviction. The clerk will refund the bond amount, less the clerk’s fees and fines when the case is over.
Failure to return to court to answer to the charges would require the judge to order bond forfeiture. The county clerk retains the forfeited bond money in the court’s fund.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help with Bond Money in Omaha
Having a strong advocate fight for your release could significantly increase the chance of obtaining a lower bond. Finding key evidence, locating witnesses, and developing a winning strategy is always easier when the accused is free and can help his or her lawyer.
A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can help with bond money in Omaha by arguing against setting bonds or asking for judicial review of the bond ruling. An accomplished Omaha criminal defense lawyer knows how to argue that a person is not a flight risk or is not a risk to the community. Factors like ties to the community, employment history, educational background, and the weaknesses in the State’s case could convince a judge that no bond or just a small amount of bond money is necessary.
Bail Bondsman are Rarely Used in Nebraska
Since one can post 10% of the bond amount directly with the court, bail bondsman are rarely used in Nebraska. A typical bail bond company will collect some amount of the money from the Defendant and then post the bail with the jail or court. Less money may be refunded at the end of the case than would come directly from the court.
Freedom Is Only a Phone Call Away
Omaha criminal defense lawyer Tom Petersen has been representing the accused for more than 15 years in more than 8,000 cases. He and his team are ready to fight for you. Call Attorney Tom Petersen right now at 402-509-8070 for help posting bail bonds in Nebraska.