Michigan and Federal criminal and Constitutional law provides that when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, they have the opportunity to seek release from custody by posting bail or bond. Your bond and any conditions of your pretrial release will be considered when you are first brought to court for your arraignment.
By posting bail, you provide a monetary guarantee that you will attend all future court hearings. If you fail to appear, you risk forfeiting the bail amount.
While granting temporary release, the court must also consider public safety. The court does this by imposing conditions on your pretrial release. The conditions of bond aim to minimize potential risks to the community while you are at large rather than in jail.
If you violate a condition of bond you will be served with a show cause notice. This will lead to a bond violation show cause hearing. Bond conditions can vary depending on the nature of the offense and your particular circumstances.
Conditions of Pretrial Release that May be Imposed by the Judge
There are a variety of things that a judge can order as a condition of pretrial release. Your criminal defense lawyer will advocate for the least restrictive conditions possible during your arraignment hearing.
- You must agree to appear at all scheduled court hearings.
- You must promise not to commit any further criminal offenses while released on bond.
- You may be required to have no contact with certain individuals, such as victims or witnesses.
- The judge may impose travel limitations on you, such as requiring you to stay within a certain jurisdiction.
- You may be ordered not enter specified premises or areas and not assault, beat, molest or wound a named person or persons;
- You may be prohibited from possessing or acquiring firearms or other dangerous weapons.Reporting: The defendant could be required to regularly report to a probation officer or court agency.
- That you not use alcohol or illicitly use any controlled substance.
- That you participate in a substance abuse testing or monitoring program. This might be random breath tests and/or EtG tests through an agency like JAAMS or ADAM. You should discuss options for testing with your attorney before the arraignment. This is especially important if you travel for work.
- That you participate in a specified treatment program for any physical or mental condition, including substance abuse.
- That you surrender driver’s license or passport.
- That you continue to seek employment.
- That you remain in the custody of a responsible member of the community who agrees to monitor the defendant and report any violation of any release condition to the court.
- The judge can order you to wear an electronic monitoring device to track your location.
- You could have a curfew imposed restricting your movements during certain hours.
Factors a Judge Will Consider Determining Your Bond and Conditions of Pretrial Release
When setting bond in felony or misdemeanor cases, judges take into account several factors to determine the appropriate conditions. These factors include:
- Severity of the Offense: The nature and seriousness of the crime committed influence the judge’s decision. Violent offenses or crimes that pose a significant risk to public safety may lead to stricter bond conditions. DUI cases will result in drug and alcohol testing while on bond.
- Flight Risk: The judge considers whether you are likely to flee the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution. Factors such as ties to the community, employment stability, and previous failures to appear in court are assessed.
- Criminal History: Your past criminal record, including prior convictions, probation or parole violations, and failures to appear, are taken into account. A history of repeat offenses or a pattern of non-compliance may result in stricter bond conditions.
- Personal Circumstances: Your personal circumstances, such as your mental health, substance abuse issues, family responsibilities, and employment, may be considered. The judge may impose conditions to address specific needs, such as requiring treatment or counseling.
- Flight Risk or Threat to Witnesses: If there is a risk that you may intimidate or tamper with witnesses involved in the case, the judge may impose stricter conditions to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.
It’s important to note that these factors are not exhaustive, and judges have discretion in determining the appropriate bond conditions based on the unique circumstances of each case and the individual defendant.
How a Top Criminal Law Attorney Can Help
While the opportunity to seek bond exists, it is essential to note that it is not an absolute entitlement for all criminal defendants. In certain circumstances, such as cases involving serious offenses or if the defendant poses a significant flight risk or danger to the community, the court may deny bail. Additionally, some jurisdictions have laws that restrict or eliminate bond for specific offenses, such as capital crimes.
Ultimately, the decision to grant or deny bond is within the discretion of the court, taking into account the specific circumstances of the case and the individual defendant, with the primary consideration being the balance between the defendant’s right to liberty and the interests of justice and public safety.
Because of the nature of many of these conditions, it is important to speak with your attorney in advance of the arraignment. Good advocacy by your attorney can help you reduce or eliminate certain bond conditions. Otherwise, complying with bond conditions can be difficult. The penalty for failing to comply however can include jail time (cancelling your bond).