In the state of Georgia, all people arrested on criminal charges are entitled to a bail bond hearing to determine if bond will be set. These hearings, which usually take place within hours of an arrest, are held to assess whether or not the defendant is "too risky" for bail. If a judge feels that the defendant is too dangerous based on the crimes they committed, the judge may deny bond. A judge may increase the bond if he or she feels that the defendant will flee from the area to avoid prosecution, or has already not appeared at court.
If the judge finds that the defendant is not a flight risk and would not be a risk to the community upon release, then he or she will set a bond amount. As soon as the defendant pays the bond amount, he or she will be released from custody and will not be required to appear in court until his or her next scheduled date. No matter what the circumstances of your case entail, you could benefit immensely by aligning yourself with an Georgia criminal lawyer who can aggressively defend you in court.
In any bail bond hearing there are a number of different bonds that a judge could issues, including but not limited to:
- Release on Own Recognizance: The defendant is released on his or her own promise to appear back in court at a later date and follow all conditions set forth by the judge. People released on their own recognizance are not required to post any type of bond, cash, or security deposit.
- Unsecured Bond: The defendant will be released from custody on his or her written promise to appear back in court and abide by all conditions set forth by the judge. However, if the defendant fails to appear in court or does not follow all conditions, he or she will be required to pay a monetary fine to the court.
- Surety Bond: A professional bail bondsmen posts bond on behalf of the defendant. The bail bondsman is liable for ensuring the defendant appears at all of his or her scheduled court dates. Typically the defendant pays 10-12% of the bond amount to the bail bondsman, and the bail bondsman posts the rest of the bond amount. But if the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman will charge him or her for the entire bond amount.
- Property Bond: The defendant promises to appear in court and comply by all terms set forth by the judge. The court will seize all or some of the defendant's property if he or she fails to appear in court.
- Cash Bond: The defendant promises to return to court and follow all guidelines set forth by the judge. The defendant is required to leave a cash bond with the court before his or her release. The money will be returned to the defendant upon resolution of the case as long as he or she appears in court when scheduled.
- Ineligibility: The judge denies release, and as a result, the defendant must remain in police custody until his or her first court appearance. However, a defendant can appeal a judge's decision to deny release or bail.
Though magistrate and municipal judges can set bail in most criminal cases, it is important to note that there are some offenses at the law requires a Superior Court judge to set bail. (O.C.G.A. § 17-6-1) These may include violent crimes, aggravated sexual offenses, drug crimes, gang crimes, vehicular hijacking, and others.
Can my bail get lowered?
Once a court sets a bail amount, it is possible for your criminal defense attorney to petition the courts to lower the bail. This may be done at the original bail bond hearing, or in a special hearing. In their decision, the courts may consider factors such as:
- nature of the crime
- circumstances surrounding the crime
- weight of the evidence against the defendant
- the defendant's criminal history
- the defendant's personal and social history (length of residency, employment history, financial resources and family ties)
- the defendant's mental history
- probability of danger to the community upon release
- source of bail funds
These will help the judge decide how dangerous the individual will be after their release or if they are likely to commit another crime. These factors will also help the court investigate the risk of the individual taking flight.
Know Your Rights: Contact Sailers & Associates
Every defendant has a right to a fair bail bond hearing, as well as to a speedy trial. If you are denied this right, your case may be subject to dismissal. This is just one of the first steps in the legal process when facing criminal charges, however, and it is highly advisable to have experienced legal representation on your side. In a bail bond hearing, your freedom from the confinement of jail may hinge upon the skill and qualifications of your legal advisor.
If you hire Sailers and Associates, we will ensure that you have an experienced criminal defense team on your side! Our firm is dedicated to put the needs of our clients first, we are available any time of the week, day or night. For your convenience, we also offer services in Spanish.
For more information, fill out the free case evaluation or call a Georgia criminal lawyer from Sailers & Associates so we can begin working on your case quickly!