How Does the Bail Process Work?
Information from a Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer
In our experience working with criminal defendants, one of the most difficult things to determine is the bail scenario. It has to be recognized that the Maryland bail industry still has very strong connections to the Maryland General Assembly. These bondsmen get paid for their services. The legislature allows the bonds to remain high in many circumstances which are unreasonable. We have seen counties in Maryland where they are now lower than they have ever been and in complete contradiction to other counties where they are set high.
It’s wise to have an attorney who knows what they are doing in these circumstances. Your rights are on the line. When it comes to pursuing justice for clients, no one does it better than the Baltimore criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. Reach out for legal guidance by calling (443) 709-9999.
Paying Bail & Leaving Detention
If the commissioner sets a bail, the defendant may post bail immediately and walk out of the detention center. That is why it is so important to have the bondsman or the bail bond agency ready to proceed before you are locked up. If the commissioner sets a reasonable bail and you have a bondsman available, the bondsman will usually do the legwork and go and post bail. They get paid a fee for doing so. Generally, the fee is 10% of the bail, with the bondsman’s cost of insurance around 4% and anything they make over that is profit.
There are many circumstances where the commissioner will deny bail or set a very high bail. The defendant has the legal right to wait to see a district court judge, either later that day or the next day. They will not be released until that occurs unless they post bail with the amount set by the commissioner. At this point in time, caution is merited because if you take a chance on getting a better deal with a judge and it is denied, then you will be unable to get out of jail.
It takes a very experienced criminal defense attorney to know what the chances are for a defendant to receive a bail from a district court judge if bail was denied by a commissioner or a bail was set very high. With over 25 years of experience, our defense attorney in Baltimore are able to defend your rights and offer the best chance of walking with a lowered bail.
What Happens After You Are Denied Bail?
If the defendant is charged with a felony and has been denied bail, they have the right to a preliminary hearing if requested within 10 days. A defendant is stuck in jail until a later time unless they can convince the district court judge at the preliminary hearing to issue bail. This is rare because judges are sitting that day for the preliminary hearing and not any bail review. A good lawyer will try to craft a scenario where that can occur if prior bail has been denied. A lawyer can also request that an additional bail review is heard.
Our firm has seen many situations where clients opt to have a judge make a determination on the bail when they could have walked out on a commissioner’s bail, albeit high. Sometimes there is an ignorance in deciding to get out with the commissioner’s bail and that decision puts the defendant in a situation where they end up sitting in jail for weeks or months at a time. It’s better to have an experienced attorney make that decision.
On the flip side, there is no “bail” on the federal level. Federal court judges (or sometimes magistrates) make a determination to release the individual into the community or to have them monitored through home detention. Money bail is usually not applicable. As with the state, pretrial services will make a determination and make a recommendation to the judge as to whether or not the individual should be released. On a federal level, the standard is much higher because they are talking about releasing the defendant into the community or on home detention.
Trust an Attorney Skilled in Bail Cases
Many people have accused the bail processes of being antiquated. The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant will show up in court at a later time.
The other factors that are considered when determining bail are:
- The dangerousness of the defendant to the community
- The potential other harm to the community
- The defendant’s past record
- The facts of the stated case.
Many judges will err on the side of caution when it is a very serious case and hold the defendant without bail or to a very high money amount of bail. That is why it’s very important to have a lawyer with you at the bail review process so they can carve out exceptions as to what’s being alleged. A particular note is that the judges and commissioners are required to assume that all the facts alleged are correct in the case. It’s not a question of guilt or innocence, it’s simply a question of whether or not they should be released on pre-trial bail.
Don’t go into the bail process without a strong legal defense. Bail can have a significant impact on your life. Set yourself up for the best possible outcome with the criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. Call (443) 709-9999.