If a defendant goes to jail or is arrested for a crime, they may be required to post bail so they can be released. In some cases, if the defendant and their family are unable to make bail, they may not necessarily need to stay in jail until their trial date. If you or your loved one find yourself in such a situation, you should understand your choices, one of which is a bond or bail reduction. Below is a guide.
What Exactly Is Bail Reduction?
While bail is generally set according to a county-wide bail schedule, defendants may find the bail unreasonable and, in some cases, too high. A criminal defense attorney can petition for a bail reduction at the first hearing or arraignment.
A judge will look into these factors to determine if they will reduce bail:
- The severity of the offense
- The criminal history of the defendant
- Public safety
- Gainful employment of the defendant
- Probability of the defendant appearance in court
If the court determines that you are not a flight risk and do not present a danger to the public, the court may lower your bail. But if the judge is unwilling to reduce the bail at the arraignment hearing, the defendant can request a separate bail hearing. You can make other bail motions at subsequent court appearances and for future pretrial hearings.
The defendant can argue that the bail is excessively high and violates the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment of the American Constitution does not exactly define what “excessive bail” is, but it stipulates that bail should not be set so high that the defendant is hopelessly in jail.
At the same time, this bar on excessive bail does not create an express right to any bail, and the court, under some circumstances, can refuse to release a defendant. You can file a motion for bond reduction after your first appearance.
The defense gives the prosecution a notice of at least 3 hours before the hearing on the bond reduction motion. You may have to wait several days or even a week before the court gives you a chance to post bond.
The Motion for Bond Reduction
The Bail Reform Act and other constitutional protections give defendants a right to request lower bail when the initial amount is too high. The defendant has the burden of proof and will have to prove that the bail is indeed excessive. The defendant will also need to show that they have made an effort to raise the funds but are unable to do so.
The court takes into consideration the argument presented by the defendant. However, the court is not required to set bail at a level the defendant can afford. If the court’s motive is not to make the defendant stay in jail awaiting trial, it can set the level of bail at any level. The court will specify why the amount set as bail is necessary either orally on the record or in writing.
Chances of Getting a Bond Reduction
The chances of the defendants getting a bond reduction depend on different factors, as described above. Furthermore, some crimes, such as murder and domestic violence, require judges to disallow bonds in any form. However, the skills of the defense lawyer can make a big difference in whether you win the case or not.
If your lawyer has failed to secure a bond reduction for you, you can reach out to a qualified bail bondsman to help you raise the amount. Here at Hand in Hand Bail Bonds, we can help you access the money necessary to post bail in court. Reach out to us today with all your needs.