When a judge decides to set a bond for a defendant, it will almost always come with bond conditions. Bond conditions are specific rules that must be followed while out on bond in order to stay in compliance with the contract. There can be any number of bond conditions that can be added by the judge that are usually custom tailored to the charges at hand, but here are the most common conditions that most defendants will face.
No Illicit Substances
One of the most common bond conditions that a judge will order is abstinence from any type of illicit or intoxicating substance while the defendant is out on bond. This generally includes things like alcohol, illegal drugs, or other, legal, intoxicating, or mind-altering substances. This is an extremely common condition for anyone facing DUI, DWI, or possession of illegal drug charges. Often the defendant will also have to submit to drug testing to ensure compliance with the judge’s order while out on bond.
Having and Keeping a Job shows the judge that you can maintain employment, keep yourself out of trouble, and be a productive member of society. Judges will often make keeping employment as a condition for the bond. Usually, if you have a job, you will be required to keep it, if possible, and show up for your regular shifts. If you do not have a job, you may be required to sign up for a local workforce service that will help you with job placement. Usually, a pre-trial officer will look into your employment and check in regularly to ensure that you are working, staying out of trouble, and complying with the judge’s orders.
Revocation of Travel Privileges
Because the act of paying the large bond amount is essentially you guaranteeing to the court that you will not flee and agree to show up to your trial, travel restrictions are usually also conditions for release on bond. The level of restrictions can be variable depending on your means and assets as well as the nature of the crime you are accused of. These can range from not being able to leave the state, to not being able to leave your home. Often, a judge will take into account requirements for work, and there are some situations where this may be waived altogether, but there is no guarantee.
Issuing Restraining Orders
In any situation where the defendant that is being released on bond is accused of any type of violent crime, physical altercations, or domestic or spousal abuse, the judge will almost always issue a restraining order that demands that the defendant stay away from the proposed victim. A judge will do this to protect all parties from any type of retribution, revenge or vigilante justice. Often, if the defendant violates this condition, they will return to jail as soon as the violation is brought to the court’s attention.
Working with Officers of the Court
While out on bond, the defendant will often have to work with a Pre-Trial Officer. This person has a role very similar to a probation officer, but they work with the defendant before the court date to ensure that the defendant is following all of the judge’s orders. This means that they will often come by to check in on the defendant to see if they are still working or seeking employment, to perform random drug or alcohol screens, check to make sure any travel restrictions are being adhered to and to look for any violation of restraining orders or any other conditions that the judge has set on the bond. Any violations will be reported to the Judge, and they will likely result in the defendant returning to jail for violation of their bond agreement.