Personal Bond on Domestic Violence Charges

Can my son’s bond be reduced to a personal bond on his Oakland County misdemeanor domestic violence case if he has been sitting in jail for a long time?

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How to Get a Personal Bond on Domestic Violence Charges

Last week, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. was retained on a 1st offense Domestic Violence (DV) case. The client’s father met with a member of our Defense Team and indicated that his son had been in jail for over 30 days on a high cash bond. He explained that his son had pushed his wife during a heated argument, and he had confessed to everything during a recorded 911 call. We informed him that, regardless of the strength of the evidence, his son was entitled to a personal recognizance bond. Michigan Court Rule 6.004 provides that once a defendant is incarcerated for 28 days or more, the judge must release them on a personal recognizance bond. The only exception to this rule is when the court finds clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is likely to fail to appear in court to present a danger to another person or the community. Most defendants can expect a personal bond on domestic violence charges with good, affordable legal representation.

Michigan Court Rule 6.004 provides that once a defendant is incarcerated for 28 days or more, the judge must release them on a personal recognizance bond.

Making a Compelling Argument for a Personal Bond

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. was hired on the case, and we were in court later that same day to seek a personal recognizance bond. Our attorneys immediately reviewed how we could demonstrate that our client would not be dangerous to anyone and that he would appear for all the scheduled court dates. The question was whether we could get him a personal bond on domestic violence charges. The answer was “yes!”

Our client was home for dinner that night, and we are now working to achieve an extraordinary result for our client in the case. Given the time the client served and some weaknesses we’ve discovered in the case, it appears very likely that we will be able to get the domestic violence charge taken under advisement pursuant to MCL 769.4a (so no conviction will ever enter against our client). Also, we will convince the judge to order no additional incarceration as part of the sentence and a short probation period (we are trying for 30 days).

This case is not the first time our attorneys have come across other lawyers who did not understand that a misdemeanor defendant is entitled to a personal bond, even on first or second offense domestic violence charges, after 28 days. When an inexperienced, budget, or general practice lawyer represents a client charged criminally, it is not uncommon for them to receive “ineffective assistance of counsel.” With effective representation, a defendant facing domestic violence charges should expect to receive a personal bond at the time of the original arraignment.

There is a similar rule in felony cases. A defendant charged with a felony is entitled to a personal bond, even on domestic violence charges, after 180 days. Delays attributable to the defendant are not included when calculating these periods.

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Why is Getting a Personal Bond Essential

The importance of allowing a criminal defendant charged with domestic violence to remain free on bond while their case is litigated through the criminal justice system can be understood from several perspectives. Firstly, the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is a cornerstone of many legal systems, ensuring that individuals are not punished without a fair trial. Being free on bond allows the defendant to continue their daily life, maintain employment, and support their family, which can be crucial for their financial and mental well-being. Furthermore, it provides them the opportunity to seek legal counsel and prepare an effective defense, which is harder to accomplish from custody. However, this must be balanced against the safety of the victim and the community. Courts often impose conditions on the release, such as no-contact orders, to protect the alleged victims. This approach seeks to balance the rights of the accused with the safety and welfare of the community, reflecting the complex nature of the criminal justice system in dealing with sensitive cases like domestic violence.

How to Help Your Defense Attorney

If someone is charged with domestic violence, there are several proactive steps they can take to help improve their situation and assist their defense attorney in building a strong defense:

  • Follow All Legal Orders and Conditions: It’s imperative to adhere strictly to any protective orders, no-contact orders, or other conditions set by the court. Violating these orders can result in additional charges and harm the credibility of the defense.
  • Gather Relevant Documentation: Collect any relevant evidence that could support your case, such as text messages, emails, or witness contact information. This evidence can be crucial in establishing timelines, contexts, or motives pertinent to the case.
  • Seek Counseling or Therapy: If advised by your lawyer, voluntarily enrolling in counseling or anger management programs demonstrates a commitment to addressing issues related to domestic violence. This can be viewed favorably by the court and can also contribute to personal growth and behavioral change.
  • Maintain a Low Profile: Avoid situations leading to further legal trouble or negative publicity. It’s especially important to be cautious on social media and avoid discussing the case publicly.
  • Communicate Openly with Your Attorney: Provide your attorney with all the facts of the case, even those that may seem unfavorable. Full disclosure lets your attorney prepare for potential challenges and develop effective defense strategies.
  • Attend All Legal Appointments and Court Dates: Showing responsibility by being punctual, dressed appropriately, and present for all legal commitments is crucial. It demonstrates respect for the judge and the seriousness with which you are taking the charges.
  • Educate Yourself About the Legal Process: Understanding the basics of criminal legal proceedings can help you make informed decisions and follow your attorney’s guidance more effectively. If you have questions, call or email your attorney right away.
  • Refrain from Contact with the Alleged Victim: Unless advised otherwise by your lawyer and even if the contact seems harmless or initiated by the alleged victim, it’s essential to adhere strictly to no-contact orders. Any communication should be discussed with and potentially handled by your attorney.
  • Consider Character Witnesses: Identify individuals who can vouch for your character or provide a different perspective on the allegations. These witnesses can sometimes offer valuable testimony or letters that support your defense and good character.
  • Stay Positive and Cooperative: A positive attitude and cooperative behavior can be beneficial. It’s important to show that you are taking the situation seriously and are willing to work constructively within the legal framework to resolve the issues.

By taking these steps, individuals charged with domestic violence can actively contribute to their defense and potentially improve their legal situation. Also, by complying with the bond, the defendant ensures they will remain free on a personal bond on domestic violence charges.

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Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers With Decades of Experience

If you have a loved one in custody on a felony or misdemeanor cash or surety bond and a judge denies a bond reduction, please contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. and consult an experienced criminal bond reduction attorney. Receiving a personal bond on domestic violence charges, or any felony or misdemeanor, is most likely if a top-notch lawyer represents you. If you call us for a free consultation, we will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and develop a winning strategy to get a personal or the lowest possible bond.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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Michigan Court Rule 6.004(C):

“Delay in Felony and Misdemeanor Cases; Recognizance Release. In a felony case in which the defendant has been incarcerated for a period of 180 days or more to answer for the same crime or a crime based on the same conduct or arising from the same criminal episode, or in a misdemeanor case in which the defendant has been incarcerated for a period of 28 days or more to answer for the same crime or a crime based on the same conduct or arising from the same criminal episode, the defendant must be released on personal recognizance, unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is likely either to fail to appear for future proceedings or to present a danger to any other person or the community. In computing the 28-day and 180-day periods, the court is to exclude:

(1) periods of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the defendant, including but not limited to competency and criminal responsibility proceedings, pretrial motions, interlocutory appeals, and the trial of other charges,

(2) the period of delay during which the defendant is not competent to stand trial,

(3) the period of delay resulting from an adjournment requested or consented to by the defendant’s lawyer,

(4) the period of delay resulting from an adjournment requested by the prosecutor, but only if the prosecutor demonstrates on the record either (a) the unavailability, despite the exercise of due diligence, of material evidence that the prosecutor has reasonable cause to believe will be available at a later date; or (b) exceptional circumstances justifying the need for more time to prepare the state’s case,

(5) a reasonable period of delay when the defendant is joined for trial with a codefendant as to whom the time for trial has not run, but only if good cause exists for not granting the defendant a severance so as to enable trial within the time limits applicable, and

(6) any other periods of delay that in the court’s judgment are justified by good cause, but not including delay caused by docket congestion.”