In general, bail can best be described as the amount of money that a person accused of a crime must give to the court in order that they can be released from jail while their criminal case proceeds through the court system. Bail is used to ensure that the defendant in a criminal case shows up for court on each required court date.
Bail can be set by a Clerk Magistrate and / or a Judge. Typically, bail is not an issue in minor criminal cases or if the defendant has no prior criminal history. In these types of cases, the defendant is released on personal recognizance or his promise to appear at each scheduled court date. If you decide to appear in court for an arraignment without an attorney the court may appoint an attorney to represent you for your bail hearing. The court appointed attorney may not have had enough time to review your case. This is not an ideal situation. Many times, the court will favorably consider the fact that a defendant recognized that the charges against them were serious and sought the advice and retained a lawyer prior to appearing at the bail hearing.
Since the purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant appears at court for each scheduled court appearance the defendant forfeits the bail money if they do not show up for court. If that happens, the court will issue a default warrant for the defendant.
Andover bail hearing lawyer Neil F. Faigel has handled countless bail hearings over the past 30 years. A bail hearing can best be described as follows:
- The judge can decide on whether to set a bail amount along with any other condition of release.
- The prosecutor and the defense attorney may agree that a specific amount of bail is warranted. If this is the case, more often than not, the court will go along with it.
- For serious felony cases the prosecutor may present a variety of reasons that a high bail is warranted. The prosecutor may also request the defendant be held in custody while the case goes forward. This is described as being held without bail.
- The court can consider the prosecutor's request. However, if you are represented by counsel the court is required to hear a rebuttal argument from your attorney.
- If the court denies bail, you will be held in custody until your trial or resolution of the case.
- If the court agrees to set bail, the court will have to determine how much bail money should be required to ensure that the defendant, when released, will appear at each court date.
- The court will generally consider the following factors when setting bail:
- The severity and nature of the charges,
- Whether the alleged crime involves domestic violence,
- The defendant's criminal history and his record of defaults in other criminal cases,
- Whether the defendant has ties to the community (family, job, length of time in MA),
- Whether the defendant is currently on probation in another case,
- Whether the defendant has a drug or alcohol problem, and
- The defendant's financial ability to post bail.
A bail hearing sets the tone for the entire case. If possible, it is a good idea for family members to be present at the arraignment. This will bolster the argument that you have ties to the community and will remain in the area until the resolution of your case. For example, Attorney Faigel recently handled a bail argument where the defendant was facing a stiff state prison sentence. In Attorney Faigel's experience, the normal amount of bail set in that type of case would have been approximately $50,000. However, based upon the factors that the court should consider when setting bail, the defendant was release on $5,000 cash bail.
If you have been arrested and are scheduled for arraignment and a bail hearing, please contact Andover bail hearing attorney Neil F. Faigel as soon as possible. Attorney Faigel's office is conveniently located at 10 Main Street, Suite L - 2, Andover, MA. He has handled hundreds of bail hearings in courts throughout Massachusetts. It is imperative that you have a seasoned and experienced defense attorney to advise you as early as possible. The importance of a winning bail argument cannot be overstated. If you are released on bail, you will go home as soon as the bail money is deposited with the court. If you are held without bail being set by the court, you will remain in jail until the case resolves. Contact Attorney Faigel for a free consultation right away. He will ensure that you receive the best possible defense.