For someone who has been arrested, the first order of business is to try and get released from custody. Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution guarantees an accused the right to bond, except in the most extreme cases. Therefore, anytime someone is arrested a bond is set that, if satisfied, will secure the accused’s release while the case is pending – assuming the defendant does not violate the terms of his/her release. What happens though, if the bond set in your case is too high for you to pay? Can a criminal defense attorney get your bond lowered? While there is no guarantee, the answer is that in many cases an experienced criminal defense attorney can get your bond lowered.
How Bond Is Set
An individual who has been accused of a criminal offense in the United States is afforded a number of protections and has a number of rights that are found in the first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, collectively known as the “Bill of Rights.” The 8th Amendment addresses the right to a reasonable bond, reading as follows:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Requiring a defendant to post a bond is intended to ensure that the defendant returns to court as directed by the court for the duration of the case. The idea being that if the defendant is financially invested in the case he/she will not abscond from the jurisdiction. The right to a reasonable bond means that, unless you have been charged with specific offenses such as murder or treason, a bond will be set by a judge either when an arrest warrant is issued or after you are arrested and charged with a crime. In some jurisdictions a bail commissioner sets bond after an individual is arrested. The initial bond amount is determined largely by the charges filed against you; although, your criminal history may also play a part in the amount of the initial bond.
Types of Bond
Understanding how a bond works can be confusing for someone who has been arrested for the first time. The fact that states handled bond differently, and even individual counties within a single state, can make the issue of bond even more confusing. In most cases, however, there are three different possible types of bond:
- Surety bond – a surety bond allows a third party “bondsman” to actually secure the bond. The bondsman acts as sort of an insurance agent to whom you pay a percentage of the full bond amount. The bondsman then signs for your release and agrees to pay the court the full bond if you fail to appear for court. For example, if the court sets a $10,000 bond you (or someone on your behalf) might pay the bondsman 10 percent, or $1,000 to secure your release. In theory, you owe the bondsman the remaining $9,000 if you fail to appear because the bondsman then owes that amount to the court.
- Cash bond – as the same implies, this requires you to pay the full amount in cash.
- Recognizance bond – means the court has released you on your “own recognizance” or promise to return to court. Although this means you do not have to pay any money, you are still technically out on bond, meaning you must obey all the pre-trial release rules.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help If My Bond Is Set Too High?
If you are unable to pay the initial bond set in your case a criminal defense attorney may ask for a bond review or bond reduction hearing by fling a motion with the court. If the court grants the motion, a hearing will be set at which time your attorney will present evidence and argument in an attempt to convince the judge to lower your bond. Things such as your criminal history, ties to the community, and other relevant factors will be considered by the judge when deciding to lower your bond or not. Often, simply hiring an attorney tells the court that you are invested in your defense and can help convince the court to lower your bond.
If you are currently stuck in jail (or have a loved one there) because you cannot pay the bond set by the court, it is certainly 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.