Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Bond And Bond In Virginia
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Virginia, one of the first things you will likely be concerned with is getting out of jail as soon as possible. In most cases, this means requesting bail or a bond, which allows the defendant to be released from custody while awaiting trial. However, the process of obtaining bail or a bond in Virginia can be complex and confusing, so it is important to understand how it works and how a criminal lawyer can help.
What is Bond and Bail?
Bail is the amount of money that the court requires the defendant to pay in order to be released from custody while their case is pending. In most Northern Virginia court, the lawyers use the words bail and bond interchangeably, even though they have historical differences. The purpose of bond is to ensure that the defendant returns to court for all scheduled appearances, as well as to protect public safety by keeping potentially dangerous individuals off the streets.
In Virginia, the court will typically set bail at a hearing called a bond hearing, which is usually held within 48 hours of the defendant's arrest. The judge will consider a number of factors in determining the amount of bail, including the defendant's criminal history, the severity of the charges, and the risk of flight or danger to the community.
What is a Secured Bond?
A secured bond allows the defendant to be released from custody by paying only a portion of the bail amount. In Virginia, a bond is typically set at 10% of the bail amount, meaning that the defendant would only need to pay 10% of the bail in order to be released.
In addition to the 10% fee, the defendant will also be required to provide collateral, such as property or a surety bond from a bail bondsman. The collateral serves as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court as scheduled, and it will be forfeited if the defendant fails to appear.
What is a Personal Recognizance Bond?
A “PR” bond is one where you don't have to pay any money unless you don't appear in court. For instance, if the court sets a PR bond of $1000, you will owe the court $1000 if you don't appear at the next court date. If that $1000 required a secured bond, you'd have to pay $100 to even be released from jail. This is not true for a PR bond. With a PR bond you don't pay anything up front.
What is Supervised release?
This is a program that's often attached as a condition to bond. It sets certain pretrial conditions a person must observe between court dates. This can include check ins with a pretrial officer, drug testing, maintaining employment, mental health treatment and evaluations, etc. There's very few limits on what can be imposed, but the conditions are generally designed to keep someone charged with a crime out of trouble.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Virginia and is seeking bail or a bond, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer. A lawyer can assist with the bail or bond hearing and help present a compelling argument for why the defendant should be released.
Specifically, a criminal lawyer can:
- Advocate for a lower bail or bond amount: If the defendant cannot afford the full amount of bail, a lawyer can argue for a lower bail amount or a reduced bond fee.
- Present evidence of ties to the community: The court may be more likely to grant bail or a bond if the defendant has strong ties to the community, such as a job, family, or other obligations that would make it less likely for them to flee.
- Highlight weaknesses in the prosecution's case: A lawyer can also use the bail or bond hearing as an opportunity to point out weaknesses in the prosecution's case and argue that the charges may not be as serious as the prosecutor suggests. Or even unprovable.
- Show that a person is not a danger to their community by presenting evidence to the court that a person hasn't been in trouble before. Or has a job or other responsibilities that would mitigate the likelihood of further offenses while on bond.
In addition to these strategies, a criminal lawyer can also help ensure that the defendant complies with all conditions of their release and appears in court as scheduled. If the defendant fails to appear, the lawyer can help resolve the situation and avoid further legal consequences.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Virginia and is seeking bail or a bond, it is important to understand how the process works and how an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help. With the assistance of an experienced defense lawyer, you may be able to secure a lower bail or bond amount and ensure that you or your loved one is released from custody as soon as possible.