DEFENSE ATTORNEY PROVIDING REPRESENTATION AT BAIL HEARINGS
Bail is a tool used by judges to ensure that a criminal defendant will appear in court as scheduled. If you or someone you love needs to have bail set or reduced, or if there’s any complication with your bail, you’ll need to contact a good Lemoyne criminal defense attorney.
Bail is available to misdemeanor defendants and to many felony defendants in Pennsylvania, but defendants who are charged with offenses that can be punished with life in prison or with the death penalty are not eligible to post bail.
Except for those ineligible defendants, bail is usually denied only when a defendant is considered a serious flight risk or a threat to public safety.
HOW IS BAIL HANDLED IN MISDEMEANOR CASES?
In misdemeanor cases, defendants are often released on their own recognizance (“ROR”), which means that a defendant simply promises to appear in court as scheduled.
Misdemeanor defendants may also be released on “unsecured” bail, which means that they provide no bail money “up front” but may be ordered to pay an unsecured bail amount if they fail to appear in court as scheduled.
In a few very rare misdemeanor cases, when a defendant is homeless or likely to leave the state, the police will make an arrest and take the suspect directly to an arraignment hearing where bail will be set.
IF YOU ARE THE TARGET OF A FELONY INVESTIGATION
In felony cases, if you aware that you are the target of a criminal investigation, your lawyer can determine if charges will be filed against you. If you arrange to turn yourself in accompanied by your lawyer, your bail will probably be lower than if you are arrested without turning yourself in.
Judges setting bail amounts want to know if a defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the public. They want to know if he or she has ties to the community – such as a family and a job – how much money a defendant has for bail, or if a defendant has failed to appear in court in the past.
HOW IS BAIL USUALLY PAID?
If a cash bail is set, a defendant may be released from custody when that amount is posted on the defendant’s behalf. Defendants with limited resources may seek the help of a bail bondsman who will post the full bail amount in return for a fee.
A bail bondsman’s fee is usually ten percent of the bail amount, and that fee is nonrefundable. If no cash is available, some bondsmen will accept other collateral such as jewelry or automobiles.
Paying for bail with cash is rare. Few people can write a personal check for a bail amount because bail is never cheap. But if a defendant is able to post the full bail amount without a bail bondsman’s services, that amount is returned after the defendant appears in court as scheduled.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE ATTACHED TO BAIL?
Pennsylvania judges can also set terms and conditions for bail, and bail can be revoked if those terms and conditions are violated. Typically, judges will order defendants to have no contact with alleged victims and to abstain from any alcohol or drug use while released on bail.
Some defendants are placed on “supervised bail” which includes routine drug testing. If a defendant violates the terms and conditions of bail, he or she can expect to have bail revoked and to be placed in jail until the criminal case is resolved.
If a bondsman posts bail for a defendant who then fails to appear in court as scheduled, the bondsman may hire a “bounty hunter,” and the judge may issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The bondsman may also sue the defendant to recover the loss.
HOW WILL THE RIGHT ATTORNEY HELP YOU WITH BAIL?
At a Pennsylvania bail hearing, your attorney can ask the court to lower your bail amount or to drop bail entirely and release you on your own recognizance. Pennsylvania judges have a great deal of discretion to set, change, eliminate, or deny bail.
A good lawyer can advise you about bail and tell the judge why your bail should be reduced or why you should be released on your own recognizance. In Dauphin or Cumberland County, if you’re charged with a crime, talk with Lemoyne criminal defense attorney R. Davis Younts.
Attorney R. Davis Younts has been a prosecutor, JAG (Judge Advocate General), and a number one-ranked Senior Defense Counsel in the U.S. Air Force. He routinely and effectively represents clients at bail hearings, and he’s been an attorney in Pennsylvania for eighteen years.
You can schedule a consultation with attorney R. Davis Younts by calling (833) 739-5291 or (717) 612-4840. His law offices are in Lemoyne at 26 North Ninth Street. If you’re facing any criminal charge, you must have sound legal advice and aggressive, effective defense representation.