Is it Possible to Get a Bond Reduction Without a Lawyer?
A low or personal bond can make a difference between remaining free while a case progresses or being held in jail. Setting a bond is a critical stage of a criminal case.
“What is a bond, and what factors are considered by the judge?”
The beginning of all criminal cases is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge reads the charges to the defendant, and they enter a plea. The possible pleas are guilty, not guilty, or the defendant stands mute, and the court enters a not guilty plea for the defendant. Then the judge sets a bond. A judge can order four types of bonds: personal bonds, cash bonds, surety bonds, and 10% provisions. Judges have broad discretion in setting unreasonable bonds. A defendant should have an experienced and zealous attorney at arraignment to get a bond reduction.
The purposes of a bond are to make sure the defendant appears for future court dates and ensure the protection of the public. In setting a bond, the judge considers many factors about the defendant, such as ties to the community, whether they have retained an attorney, education, employment, history of obeying court orders, whether the defendant turned themselves in, the nature of the crime, and criminal record.
“Do I need a lawyer to get a low or personal bond?”
While defendants have the constitutional right to represent themselves, self-representation is likely not the best method of getting a bond reduction. Filing a Motion for Bond Reduction is complex, and there is no room for error because the defendant might not get a second chance. Often, self-represented people say things they think will help them get a bond reduction, and the judge takes the comments wrongly or out of context. An expert criminal defense attorney will know exactly what to say about the defendant to put them in the best light with the judge.
Also, if a defendant has gone to the trouble and expense of hiring an attorney, the judge will have good reason to trust the defendant to come back to court when ordered, and hence there is no need for a high bond; no one would hire a lawyer if they intend to abscond and flee the jurisdiction.
If a defendant has no other alternative but to represent themselves, the cooperation of family or friends will be essential in obtaining a bond reduction. Persuading a judge to permit a defendant’s release on a personal bond or low-cash bond requires presenting facts proving that they will likely show up in court when required and will abide by the law if released. The defendant will want to show, if possible, that they have friends and family in the area, are employed, own or lease a home, have a history of being responsible, and more. If the defendant has a prior record, it is helpful to prove there is no history of non-appearance in court and a track record of following court orders. Many factors can influence a judge one way or the other, and the more favorable information the defendant can present, the better.
Preparation is Key to Getting a Bond Reduction
A self-represented defendant invariably will attempt to “wing it” at the arraignment on a warrant in hopes of getting a bond reduction. Defendants must understand the judge does not know them and has no reason to trust them if they do not have a reputable lawyer attorney speaking on their behalf. A defendant in custody pending an arraignment will have to rely on friends and family to get any helpful documentation and submit it to the court in the proper format and manner. Every court is different, so knowing what to provide can be daunting without experience.
An astute and skillful defense attorney will know what documents or other items to present to the judge to ensure the judge will be comfortable setting a low or personal bond. Such an attorney will also know how to present the information to the judge for maximum impact.
Why it is Critical to Get a Bond Reduced to a Low or Personal Bond
Aside from the sheer misery of being in jail, pretrial release is vital to the outcome of a case for several reasons. First, a defendant released on bond will most likely stay employed and provide for the family. The fact that the defendant committed no infractions and has kept their job will be essential at sentencing. Secondly, communicating and meeting with an attorney is critical to case preparation, defense investigation, and strategy. The better prepared a defendant and attorney are, the more likely they will get a favorable resolution. Studies have widely proven that defendants who remain on bond consistently get more favorable plea bargains and lenient sentences.
The Best Hope For a Bond Reduction
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of combined criminal defense experience. Hiring an attorney with extensive experience arguing for a low or personal bond is crucial. Judges and prosecutors know our reputation as reputable, reliable attorneys and will trust that our representations in court are credible. Lesser-known or “general practice” attorneys might be less familiar to judges and prosecutors and will not get the benefit of the doubt. If you are facing an upcoming arraignment, give us a call. We will explain how a LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. defense lawyer can help you get a bond reduction.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.