A bond hearing is an important step in the arrest process because it is the first time the defendant is able to convey their side to a judge as well as ask the judge to be released until their scheduled court date. But if you have never been through this process before you may have questions about what it is like and what to expect. In order to ease any anxiety, here are some main points to know.
Bond hearings are not trials
The first main thing to know about bond trials is that the purpose of the hearing is for the judge to decide whether or not a bond should be offered for release and if so, what is the appropriate amount to set the bond at. During this whole hearing, there will be no actual trial or verdicts and those won’t happen until later down the line when you arrive at your scheduled court date.
A judge will ultimately make the decision
When a bond hearing happens, there will not be a jury involved but a judge will hear the information, and then they will make the final call in regards to bond. The defendant will typically have a defense attorney or public defender to help them state their case and if needed, the hearing will allow loved ones to be present for moral support.
There is a number of criteria that will be looked at
When a judge decides on bond for the defendant, a few different factors will be brought into consideration. The main and most important factor will be in regards to safety. If the judge has any concerns about the defendant being a risk to society’s safety or even their own, then the judge does have the right to revoke bond outright. Another reason a bond could be revoked is if the defendant has an extensive previous criminal history or if this is a re-arrest while already out on bond then it may be a harder sell to be released again. In addition to this, a judge will also look at the severity of the current charges and the number of resources the defendant has. A judge would do this because if a person has significant resources then they become a higher flight risk because they may be able to flee the country before their court date. In this instance however it is unlikely that the judge would simply revoke bond, it would be more likely that the bond cost would just be significantly higher.
To sum up, a bond hearing is quite different from a traditional trial but there are still elements that are similar. The judge will make the final decision on whether or not the defendant will be released but they come to his conclusion with a standard set of criteria to make the most informed and fair choice possible.