Knowing what happens at a bond hearing can be helpful as it will determine whether the defendant will remain in custody before trial or be provisionally released.
Our immigration attorneys at Curbelo Law understand that these legal processes can be overwhelming for individuals. However, they and their select team of professionals are ready to help anyone seeking legal representation in such scenarios.
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What Happens At A Bond Hearing In The United States In 2024?
At a bond hearing, it is the judge who determines whether the defendant can be released on bail or not. Such hearings can be very complicated and it is recommended that you have an experienced attorney to handle these cases.
There are 6 common steps typically seen at bond hearings:
1# The Beginning Of The Hearing
At the beginning, the judge will ask the defendant how to plead. If the latter pleads guilty, then the sentence will be handed down; if the latter pleads innocent, the judge will give way to a bond hearing.
2# Prosecutor’s Argument
The prosecutor will present the case against the accused, where they will argue that the individual should not be granted bond. Generally, the prosecutor usually mentions:
- The seriousness of the crime,
- Any risk of escape, and
- The criminal record of the accused.
3# The Defense Argument
In this step, the defense lawyers argue on behalf of the accused, where they express why they should be granted bail. The defense will usually mention the defendant’s ties to the community, their employment status, and other factors.
4# The Judge’s Decision
This is one of the most crucial parts of knowing what happens at a bond hearing, as the judge will make a decision regarding bond after hearing from:
- The prosecution, and
- The defense.
Often the judge can make the following 3 decisions regarding bond:
- Grant it,
- Deny it, or
- Set it at a specific amount.
If the judge grants bail, the defendant can be released from jail, but must follow certain specific conditions. For example, attending all scheduled hearings and remaining within an established geographic area.
5# Options Available For Payment Of The Bail
When the judge sets bond, the defendant can choose between:
- Paying the full amount, or
- Working with a bail bondsman.
Bail bonds agents typically charge a fee, which is usually 10% of the total bail amount. As a result, they will post bail on behalf of the defendant, but if the defendant does not appear in court, the agent could forfeit the entire bail amount.
At this point, in addition to knowing what happens at a bond hearing, you may be interested in knowing where to pay an immigration bond. On our website you will find a blog where we answer this uncertainty.
In the event that the accused is denied bail, they may appeal the decision. However, appealing an immigration decision could be expensive and time-consuming, so it is advisable to have a solid legal case and, above all, a good lawyer.
What Comes After A Bond Hearing In The United States?
After a bond hearing, there are a series of procedures that must be followed in order to ensure that everything is in perfect order. Among these procedures are the following:
1# Payment Of The Bond
Once the bail amount is set, the defendant or their family will have to pay a non-refundable fee to a bondsman. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman will be responsible for paying the full bail amount to the court.
After bail has been paid, the accused will be able to leave jail. At this point, it is necessary for the accused to sign a document indicating that they will attend court on the scheduled dates.
Even if the defendant is released from jail, the court may impose certain conditions for the defendant to remain free. For example:
- Stay away from certain individuals,
- Attend counseling sessions, or
- Hand over the passport.
After the defendants have been released from jail, they will have to appear in court on all scheduled dates. Failure to do this, and missing just one time, could result in bail being revoked and being placed in jail again.
5# Exemption From Bail
When the case has been resolved and the accused meet all their legal obligations, then their bail is waived.
It should be noted that the procedures after this are essential to guarantee a successful result and thus avoid further legal problems.
Detention Hearings In New Jersey
In the New Jersey court system, criminal defendants are allowed to be imprisoned before a trial takes place.
Additionally, depending on the results of the bond hearing, the defendant could remain incarcerated during the criminal proceedings. Likewise, the following must be taken into account:
- Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, no individual shall be deprived of his property or liberty without due process of law.
- This ensures that an individual’s right is not deprived of their liberty before they can fully address the criminal charges against them.
- Therefore, the bond hearing represents one of the first steps in the legal process that ensures fair treatment.
- The bond hearing must be held within 48 hours of the defendant’s arrest in cases involving a complaint order.
After completing the Public Safety Risk Assessment (PSA), the defendant will appear before a judge, who will decide whether to grant bond or imprisonment without bail .
Healing Motions, Pretrial Detention and Special Release Conditions
During the hearing, the prosecution will have the option of submitting a request for a motion to the court for pretrial detention. This will be based on the recommendation of pretrial services. For this, the results of:
- The Public Safety evaluation, and
- Other factors evaluated by the judge.
These factors include the evidence submitted during the hearing, the defendant’s prior history, and their personal characteristics.
Alternatively, the prosecutor may choose not to argue in favor of pretrial detention, but may request to impose special conditions on the release of the accused. If so, the court may approve the request by adding one or more of the following conditions:
- Participation in the local jurisdictions electronic monitoring or house arrest program.
- Establishment of restraining orders to prevent contact with victims, witnesses and other offenders,
- Conditions to refrain from committing other criminal acts, and
- Monitoring for drug and alcohol use.
What Can You Expect From One Of These Hearings?
During the hearing, the accused appears before the judge in charge of determining whether the pretrial detention meets the following criteria:
- It is appropriate,
- The possibility of release of the accused, and
- Impose special release conditions..
Under New Jersey law, defendants are assumed to be eligible for release. However, in certain circumstances, this presumption can be overridden, especially if the criminal charge involves murder or life imprisonment.
What Happens Before A Detention Hearing In New Jersey
To be considered for a pretrial hearing, an individual must be arrested on specific charges.
There are two ways by which an individual can be charged with a crime, and this depends on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of the accused.
It should be noted that New Jersey only has Superior court offenses and municipal court offenses, no felonies.
Complaint-Summons and Complaint-Warrant
After the arrest of a criminal suspect and the issuance of a reporting warrant, they must be transferred to the local county. Normally, they are held for a maximum of 48 hours until they are formally charged.
Before this deadline, officers file a motion to set pretrial release conditions through the preliminary PSA.
Some Cases That Must Be Charged Through Court Orders
- Aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault,
- Aggravated homicide or manslaughter,
- Theft, and
- Attempt to commit any of the crimes mentioned above.
Other cases that are generally filed by court order, but can also be charged by subpoena with court approval, include:
- Simple assault,
- Vehicular homicide,
- Aggravated fire,
- Production or possession of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons,
- Engaging in or exhibiting prohibited sexual acts with a child,
- Membership or relationship with organized crime,
- Aggravated assault,
- Disarming a police officer,
- Manufacture or distribution of explosive traps,
- Drug-induced deaths with determination of strict liability,
- Possession or use of a firearm,
- Firearms trafficking,
Public Safety Risk Assessment (PSA)
After arrest, a defendant with a reporting order undergoes a PSA supervised by local services and prosecutors. This evaluation seeks to determine the risk that the defendant represents to the public if they are released.
Age Of The Arrestee
The age of the accused is a crucial factor in pre-trial risk assessments. Pretrial services classify ages into three categories:
- 20 years or less,
- Between 21 and 22 years old, and
- 23 years or older.
Violent Nature of the Current Crime
The violent nature of the defendant’s current offense, as it is considered violent if the defendant attempted or demonstrated to cause physical injury. Reckless or negligent conduct is not classified as violent unless it leads to homicide.
Prior Sentenced to Incarceration
It covers any period of imprisonment of the accused that has lasted 14 days or more, excluding situations where a court suspends the prison sentence.
Charges Pending During Alleged Offense
A pending charge is one that exists at the time the defendant commits the alleged crime. It can be one of the following:
- It has been presented before the grand jury,
- The defendant has not yet appeared for trial or sentencing, or
- It is a position with deferred status. This means it may involve the suspect’s release on probation, the dismissal of charges, or the defendant’s current participation in a pretrial intervention program.
Previous Failure To Appear
Addresses any prior charges in which the defendant was arrested but not sentenced and failed to appear at the court summons. Additionally, the court in charge must have issued a Federal Transit Authority (FTA) related to the defendant’s absence.
Any Prior Disorderly Persons Offenses
Public order offenses may result in conviction through guilty pleas or guilty verdicts at trial. However, in New Jersey, out-of-state disorderly conduct convictions are considered misdemeanors.
Previous Criminal Felonies or Convictions
It covers all prior convictions, regardless of severity, including guilty pleas or jury findings. However, positions with deferred status are generally not taken into account during this evaluation.
What Happens After A Bond Hearing In New Jersey Concludes?
Typically, a bond hearing in New Jersey concludes with one of the following two outcomes:
- The accused is taken into custody for preventive detention, or
- Is granted freedom with special conditions during the judicial process.
When a defendant is in preventive detention, they remain detained throughout the judicial procedure. Instead, if they are allowed to be released on special conditions, they must comply with certain specific terms.
Violation of these conditions can lead to a hearing where the prosecution has to submit solid evidence. If the violation is confirmed, the accused may be arrested again.
Detention Hearing For Juvenile Cases In New Jersey
Similar to adults, minors accused of criminal offenses may face pretrial detention in certain situations.
- In particular, preventive detention may be used when there is a likelihood that a minor will not comply with the conditions associated with their release.
- In the case of minors, pretrial detention is often imposed when it is clear that they would have difficulty attending required court hearings.
- Accused minors have the right to a review of any preventive detention decision.
- Within 14 days, the judge in charge must hold another hearing to examine the circumstances of the minor’s case and reconsider the initial decision of preventive detention.
If the judge determines that the minor should remain in custody, then hearings must be scheduled at 21-day intervals to evaluate the validity of the remand until the case is resolved.
How To Prepare For A Bond Hearing?
The bond hearing can be stressful, but having proper preparation can mitigate some of the anxiety. To do this, it is advisable to follow the following guidelines:
Hire A Lawyer
A lawyer can offer legal advice and guide individuals through the entire legal procedure. On the other hand, it could also be useful to hire a guarantor, as they can assist in paying the bail.
Collect All Required Documents And Essential Information
This involves having the following:
- Personal identification,
- Proof of residency, and
- Any relevant legal documents, such as criminal records or court subpoenas.
If the accused choose clean and moderate clothing, they can convey to the judge his seriousness and respect for the court. It is advisable to avoid clothing that is too revealing.
Be On Time
It is key to arrive on time for a bond hearing, as lateness can project a negative image and even result in a warrant for your arrest. Therefore, it is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled date.
During the bond hearing, maintaining a respectful and calm demeanor is an essential part of the process. Therefore, you must address the judge with appropriate treatment, avoiding interruptions or discussions in the courtroom.
What Are The Types Of Bail Bonds In The United States?
There are seven different categories of bail bonds, each with its own rules, regulations, laws, and specific objectives. These types are:
- Cash bail bonds.
- Surety bonds.
- Property bonds.
- Immigration bail bonds.
- Federal bail bonds.
- Citation Release.
- Recognizance Release.
How Can Curbelo Law Help Immigrants In A Bond Hearing?
At Curbelo Law, we treat our clients for who they are, not for the crime they have committed or are being accused of. Now you know what happens at a bond hearing and if you face one in New Jersey, we encourage individuals to contact us as soon as possible.
- If you are an immigrant and you are in the middle of this situation, do not despair, because we are here to help you.
- Our attorneys Carolina T. Curbelo and Sharon Lieberman will fight for you to increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.
- With a solid and extensive track record in resolving legal matters, our professionals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their clients.
- Trust Curbelo Law, as we have more than 10 years dealing with all types of immigration matters in the country.
Our experts will address your legal needs with unsurpassed professionalism. Call us today, as time is often of the essence when it comes to bond hearings.