STEP SIX: BOND HEARINGS

Once someone has been locked up for a criminal offense, the first question on his loved one’s mind is ‘how do we get him out?’ As I’ve explained in previous posts, bond can be set at various points throughout the process (pre-set in warrants, set at first appearance or at preliminary hearings).  However, if no bond has been set by the end of the preliminary hearing then the defense attorney must file a motion for bond in accordance with O.C.G.A. §17-6-1.

Bond Opens the Jail Doors

Bond Opens the Jail Doors

 

DEFENSE ATTORNEY MUST FIGHT FOR BOND

After the motion has been filed, the court will set a date for the bond hearing. Bond hearings usually aren’t lengthy matters, but do require some preparation by defense counsel in order to establish that the client qualifies under the statute for release on bond.  The State is usually responsible for informing the court of the facts of the case against the defendant (via either witness testimony or ‘proffer’ which is simply the recitation of the known facts by the prosecutor with opportunity for correction by defense counsel) and to confirm the existence (or lack thereof) of the defendant’s criminal history. Typically, defense counsel will call witnesses to offer evidence to satisfy the requirements of bond – that the defendant has ties to the community, that he will appear in court to face the charges against him, that he does not pose a threat to intimidate or harass the victims or witnesses, and that he doesn’t pose a risk of committing additional offenses while out on bond.

It is difficult to predict generically the likelihood of bond. The reality is it depends on a number of factors outside of whether the defendant fits the requirements provided for by statute. What I mean by that is that some jurisdictions grant bonds more freely than others due to factors such as how conservative/liberal the community is and whether there is a significant jail overcrowding issue. Assuming you have a jurisdiction that is fairly liberal and has a packed jail (like, for instance Fulton County) then the likelihood is high that bond will be granted for a defendant even if he/she doesn’t satisfy all the statutory requirements for bond. On the contrary, in counties where the community is highly conservative and with ample room in the local jail, judges may deny bond for people who otherwise seem to satisfy all the statutory requirements especially if the crime involves any real hint of violence.

Some general rules of thumb: if a defendant is out on bond on one charge and commits another offense, there is little likelihood that a bond will be granted for the second charge because the defendant clearly poses a risk of committing additional offenses while on bond. Likewise, if the defendant has failed to appear in court on other charges or has run from the police at some point (either in the current case or been convicted of it in the past) that is usually accepted as being a strong indicator that the defendant will not show up to court to face the charges against him. Where those facts or similar ones appear, there is a slim likelihood for getting a bond set in most jurisdictions.

NEED HELP GETTING OUT ON BOND, CALL ME

If you or a loved one need representation on a bond matter, please give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free consultation.

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