If someone is facing trial, one of the first things that the judge will decide is whether to keep the defendant in custody or release the defendant until the trial date.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Offices of the United States Attorneys, bail consideration generally occurs during the initial hearing, or arraignment. During this time, the judge will look at a variety of factors to determine release and, if so, what conditions the defendant must follow.
Factors involved in retaining the defendant
According to FindLaw, the courts generally choose to give the defendant a release option. However, there are exceptions. If there is clear evidence that the defendant may pose physical risk to the alleged victim or the community, the judge will keep the defendant in custody until the trial.
Potential conditions for pretrial release
The judge also looks at other factors to determine if the defendant is a flight risk or has an increased chance of not appearing for trial. Factors the judge looks at include the defendant’s ties to the community, friends and family in the area, job security and prior criminal record. If defendants have no record and have strong ties to the area, the judge may release them on their own personal recognizance.
However, most release situations involve some type, or combination, of conditions. A common one is a bail bond, real estate bond or a cash deposit. The judge may also have other conditions related to pretrial release. Examples include:
- Impose restrictions on movement, residence, associations and activities while on release
- Place under supervision by an individual or organization
- Order the defendant to refrain from contact with an individual
If, at any time during the release period, the defendant violates the stated conditions, the judge may order the defendant to return to custody to await trial.