Will I get a bond and how high?

As a criminal defense lawyer in Georgia I get this question a lot. Probably in every case where my client is in custody at the time I am retained. Bond is obviously an important part of the criminal case. The presumption of innocence is present for the defendant but there are a few hoops to jump through as far as whether or not the defendant will get a bond especially in situations when they are charged with serious crimes. If the crimes are serious in nature bond is not always a guarantee.  The State does retain the burden of persuading the Court that the defendant is not entitled to pretrial release. The defendant should establish ties to the community. The facts like continuously living in the community for significant period of time, having involvement with family and  friends or institutions of the community are important arguments to make for the accused seeking a bond. The more ties to the community the more likelihood that the defendant will make his court appearances is the argument. The defendant wants to show and demonstrate that he poses no significant risk of fleeing or threatening the community or intimidating any witnesses. The State always looks to the defendant’s record to carry its burden of persuasion by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is not entitled to release on bail. The seriousness of the charge also goes to the threat to the community argument.

The amount of bail to be assessed in each criminal case is generally within the sound discretion of the trial judge, whose decision will not be reversed on appeal absent a clear abuse of that discretion. When fixing the amount of bail, the judge is to consider chiefly the probability that the accused, if freed, will appear at trial, another way of saying that is flight risk. The judge has to consider the likelihood of intimidation of witnesses, the likelihood of committing a felony or other crime if granted a bond.

Arguments regarding bond that the court will want to hear about from the defendant’s lawyer in making the determination of whether a bond is granted or the amount of grant bond that should be set are as follows: the length and character of the defendant’s residence in the community; his employment status and history and his financial condition; his family ties and relationships; his reputation, character, and mental condition; his past history of response to legal process; his prior criminal record; the identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for the defendant’s reliability; the nature and seriousness of the current charge, the apparent probability of conviction(although this factor plays a much more significant role in the federal courts), and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors would be relevant to the risk of nonappearance; and any other factors that indicate the defendant has ties in the community and the significance of those ties. 

If bond is denied the judge should issue an order that sets forth the basis of the trial court’s decision. Such an order is immediately appealable. The trial court should base its decision on the four considerations discussed generally above 1) whether the defendant is likely to a commit a serious crime 2) intimidate witnesses 3) interfere with the administration of justice or 4)  will flee if released. An order denying pretrial bond is not a final judgment and may not be directly appealed. Hire a Paulding County criminal defense lawyer to handle your bond arguments, as pretrial release could be the most important part of the case. The only case where a Defendant is guaranteed a bond is a misdemeanor so having a lawyer in the bond phase of the case is crucial.

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