What Are Bond/Release Hearings?
After an arrest, the court schedules a bond or release hearing to decide what the individual is eligible for. When bond is involved, it is set right after the arrest is processed, and the amount varies based on the severity of the crime or felony. With higher intensity cases, the defendant may have to wait longer to receive a hearing.
What Happens at the Hearing?
Since bond is required for almost all arrests, hearings are typically conducted twice a day in Arizona courts. Defendants are brought into the courtroom, and a judge will make the decision. This quick process happens for minor misdemeanors, but higher profile cases must appear before a criminal court.
During the proceedings at the criminal court, the court decides if the defendant is eligible for bond, and if so, what the amount should be. In these situations, the amount far surpasses what the family or relatives can pay to have the person released. This decision takes longer when the defendant has an existing record.
When the court suspects a defendant is a threat to him or herself or the surrounding community, bail is denied.
Four Types of Release
Bond and release hearings offer a few different options for individuals looking to avoid staying behind bars for long. So, what are the four types of releases?
- Own recognizance (OR). In this situation, the judge decides to let individuals leave court after promising to appear at the next scheduled court date. This decision is based on the defendant having strong ties throughout the community and not being a risk to him or herself and others. People who hold a good record of making court dates in the past easily acquire this type of release.
- Third party release. This release involves the judge choosing to release the defendant to a third party who promises to deliver the individual to future court dates. The third party is directly responsible if the defendant misses any future appearances.
- Pretrial services release. A judge might choose this option during a felony case. In this type of release, individuals are subject to surveillance by the state’s agency. Officials must ensure defendants behave appropriately while out of custody, and they are likely to show up unannounced to check on the defendant. Much like probation, defendants are sometimes required to wear a monitoring device.
- Bond. A judge decides on a set dollar amount, which must be paid to guarantee the defendant appears at their future court date. However, when individuals fail to make their following court date, the judge may issue a “Bond Forfeiture Hearing,” where they decide whether the state should keep the defendant’s money. When a bail bondsman is involved, this process is intensified with a bounty hunter. A bail bondsman wants to make sure they receive full compensation for their involvement, so they will do what they can to find the individual and take them to court.
Hiring an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer is extremely helpful for navigating the bond and release hearing. After bail is posted, it’s difficult for family and relatives to do anything about the set amount. However, a lawyer can negotiate the amount or find an acceptable release option.
Families and relatives shouldn’t wait to contact a lawyer. Seeking legal advice in the first few hours will give ample time to work with the court and settle on an acceptable bond or release deal.
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