The bail (or bond) hearing is one of the critical moments in every criminal case. At that hearing, the judge hears for the first time about the circumstances of the alleged crime. He should also hear about who you are and why you deserve to have a reasonable bail set. You are considered innocent at this and every hearing until your case resolves, and you deserve the respect and dignity afforded an innocent person. Accordingly, you should be granted bail so you can continue living in your own community while awaiting trial on the case.
Bail Serves Many Purposes
When considering who should be granted bail, judges look at a variety of circumstances that evaluate both the fairness to the accused as well as the safety of the community. They evaluate all available evidence, including that presented by the defendant.
The judge has two main factors to consider:
To Release or Not to Release
The Colorado Constitution requires that all defendants in a criminal case should be released on bail or offered the least restrictive terms of bail to avoid unnecessary pre-trial incarceration. Colorado Statutes § 16-4-103 et seq.
Accordingly, the judge will evaluate the circumstances in each case to identify the least restrictive pre-trial release conditions. When weighing this decision, she will consider whether the defendant poses a safety risk to any person or the community if granted bail. Another consideration is whether the person will willingly return to court on the date of his next hearing. Sometimes, accused people will request and receive bail and then fail to appear at the next hearing. If the judge believes that any single defendant might not appear at his next hearing, she can deny bail and order that person to remain in jail until the date of the next hearing.
The Conditions of Bail
The least restrictive bond is an “unsecured personal recognizance” bond where the defendant has assured the court of her appearance at the next hearing and that she does not pose a safety risk to the community. Defendants with criminal histories or who have failed to appear at other hearings may have conditions added to the bond that would deter them from failing to comply with it. If the court has serious concerns about the defendant, the judge may order a release after filing a “secured bond,” or one with financial conditions attached.
Colorado’s Pretrial Assessment Tool (CPAT) gives judges objective parameters to follow when assessing whether any particular suspect should have a low or high bail set in his case. The court prepares a pre-trial risk assessment report based on the facts it has learned about the case and bases its decision on the facts found in that document.
The defendant has the right to receive a copy of the CPAT report, which often provides insights that support a strenuous argument in favor of pre-trial release. If you are the subject of a CPAT report, you should have an experienced criminal attorney review it to ensure that you gain the benefit of a pre-trial release in your case.
Are you schedule for a bail hearing? Call Pollart Miller and let our criminal defense attorneys work for you!