Bond Motions and Bond Hearings: Get Me Out Of Jail!
If you get arrested and put in jail, you want out! Sure, there are some people who may choose to stay in jail for various reasons, such as wanting to build up jail credit, homelessness, safety from someone who may be a threat, drug addiction, etc., but most people want out of jail as soon as possible. Having an attorney involved early increases your chances of securing release from jail while the case makes its way through court (referred to as pre-trial release).
Advantages of Pre-trial Release
There are major advantages to pre-trial release, including:
- Having access to evidence to use in your defense;
- Having easier access to your attorney to discuss the case;
- Being able to go back to work to preserve your family’s well-being and to have money to pay for your attorney and costs involved with your case; and
- Being able to appear in court neatly dressed in your own clothes, not in an inmate jumpsuit.
What Is a Bond and What Purpose Does It Serve?
If you are arrested, you will likely be taken before a Magistrate, who will make an initial determination as to whether you should be released from jail and what the conditions of pre-trial release should be. Conditions of pre-trial release, among other things, might include a Written Promise to Appear, Unsecured Bond (no money or collateral required), or a Secured Bond (requiring monetary collateral (bond) to secure your release.
A pre-trial bond is requiring something of value to be posted as collateral (cash, property or some other financial security) to ensure you will show up for court. If you show up for court and handle the case, then you get the collateral back. If you fail to appear, then the collateral is forfeited. Most people do not get an attorney involved at the Magistrate level. However, an attorney can present information that could keep you out of jail or that could make your bail amount as low as possible, which could make a difference in your being able to afford to post the bond.
If your bond amount is more than you can afford, you may need a Bail Bondsman to help. The Bondsman will charge you a fee (non-refundable) and post the bond on your behalf. The Bondsman may pick you up and return you to jail if you fail to appear in court; otherwise, they may be responsible for paying the bond amount.
“First Appearance” Hearing
If the Magistrate does not allow release from jail, or if someone has not been able to post their bond, a judge is required to review the bond and other conditions of release at the first court session following the arrest, or within 96 hours, whichever comes first.
At the first appearance hearing, the judge will:
- Advise you not to talk about the facts of the case, because anything you say can be used against you;
- Review the charges and all conditions of pre-trial release, including the bond amount;
- Advise you of your right to an attorney (if you do not already have one); and
- Advise you of the next court date.
Having an attorney represent you at this hearing is very important. An attorney can advocate why a secured bond may not be necessary to reasonably ensure your presence in court or why your bond amount should be lowered.
What Does The Judge Consider in Setting a Bond?
In reviewing a bond amount, some of the things the judge will consider are:
- The nature of the charges;
- Your criminal history;
- Your family support, employment, length of residency, and other ties to the community;
- Mental health;
- Whether there are any public safety concerns if you are released;
- How likely it is that you will appear in court; and
- Any other relevant considerations.
What Are Bond Motions?
Bond Motions are pleadings filed with the court asking a judge to review the conditions of pre-trial release set by the Magistrate or “First Appearance” judge. An experienced attorney will present evidence that could convince a judge to modify the prior conditions. The attorney may also be able to negotiate with the district attorney and agree on a modification of the bond or other conditions of release.
Contact Us Today: Email or Call Now (336) 389-1211.
If you or someone you know needs representation at a pre-trial hearing or needs help with a bond motion, we’re here to help. We handle bond hearings in Greensboro, High Point and all of Guilford County, North Carolina.