When someone is arrested for a crime in North Carolina, their first question is often “How can I get out of jail?” Though innocent until proven guilty, defendants often remain in jail time until the case is resolved. In most cases, individuals may be released from jail by posting bail themselves or through a bail bond. If you are arrested and need someone to represent you at a bond hearing, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
- Bail is the dollar amount required for a defendant to be released from custody while they await trial and acts as “insurance” that the defendant will appear for future court dates.
- A bail bond is posted on the defendant’s behalf, usually by a bail bond company, to secure his or her release from jail.
- A bond hearing is when a judge determines the amount of bail that will be required in order for a defendant to be released.
There are two types of bail bonds:
- Criminal bail bonds guarantee that a defendant will appear for trial.
- Civil bail bonds guarantee the payment of debt plus interests and costs.
How do Bail Bonds Work?
We’ve read and seen coverage in the media about individuals who were accused of a crime and later “released on $100,000 bond.” But what does this mean?
When someone is arrested for a crime, they’re held in jail until the case is resolved, or until they post bail. The amount of the required bail is up to the court, and a judge may deny bail or set bail extremely high if a defendant is charged with a violent crime or is considered a flight risk.
Bail amounts vary by jurisdiction and by the crime committed. A defendant charged with a misdemeanor could have a bail of $1,000. A defendant charged with a felony could have a bail of $100,000 or more.
Once the amount is set, defendants can:
- Stay in jail until the charges are resolved
- Pay the full bail amount in cash or through a property bond
- Arrange for someone else to pay the full bail amount through a bail bond
Once bail is paid, the defendant is granted freedom until the date of the trial, or until the case is resolved. The payment discourages the defendant from fleeing in that if the defendant does not appear at the trial, the bail money is forfeited. Some defendants seek the help of a bail agent or other outside party who posts the bond for them, such as a bail bondsman.
What Happens During a Bond Hearing?
In North Carolina, you are entitled to a bond hearing at every level of court. The purpose of a bond hearing It is to determine the amount of money a criminal defendant must pay to secure their release before trial. An initial bond hearing is typically conducted within a few days of a defendant’s arrest.
During the hearing, the judge will consider several factors, including the seriousness of the crime, criminal history, and bond schedules. Prosecutors and the defense are allowed to offer evidence and testimony, specifically about the defendant’s position in the community, whether they pose a risk to the public, and whether there is a risk that the defendant will flee or fail to attend court appearances. These hearings can take minutes or several hours.
How We Can Help
While an attorney is not required to post bail or conduct a bond hearing, if you’ve been charged with a crime that could potentially result in a prison sentence or jail time, you are entitled to counsel. One advantage of having an attorney at the time of arrest is that your counsel may be able to negotiate a reduced bail or even reduced criminal charges.
Additionally, if the court initially denies bond for your criminal charges, we can file a motion to set a reasonable bond and set the proposal for a bond hearing. Having a knowledgeable attorney making a rational argument at a bond hearing is an effective way to convince the judge to impose reasonable monetary bail amounts.
Contact Us Today
While bond hearings are relatively straightforward, whether the result is in your favor will depend heavily upon how well prepared you are, your criminal history, and how experienced your defense lawyer is. The attorneys at Dysart Willis have years of experience helping secure favorable outcomes for individuals charged with a variety of crimes and seeking reasonable bail levels. If you or a loved one are preparing for a bond hearing, contact us today by calling 919-747-8380. You can also contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.