How Bail Bonds Work in Colorado

When dealing with arrests, every state addresses bail bonds a little differently. Some states have a point system while others have an automatic set amount based on charges. In Colorado, a judge will set bonds based on a variety of factors. Here is the rundown of how bail bonds are done in Colorado.

You will be seen by a judge within 48 hours

Overall, there have not been too many changes to the bail bond system in Colorado over the years but one major change was set into law in 2021. This has to do with pre-trail detention reform and it states that when someone is arrested, they must be seen for their bond hearing within 48 hours regardless of holidays or weekends. This is a shift from the previous law where defendants would often have to wait longer over non-business days to be seen. With the creation of this law, bond hearings can be done virtually when needed to ensure that no one is held for too long without being seen by a judge.

Some may be eligible for personal recognizance

In Colorado, if a defendant is facing a class 3 misdemeanor or lower in addition to petty offenses or unclassified charges, in most cases the defendant will be given the option of personal recognizance. This means that instead of paying a bond cost, the defendant would just need to sign a promissory contract saying they will attend any and all hearings for their case. This is done without any cost. However, even if a charge is considered petty or a lesser misdemeanor, if there was any instance of someone being injured or law enforcement being put in danger or evaded, then a judge may still set a bond and forgo personal recognizance.

Colorado Mandates how much bail bond agencies can charge

As with many states, Colorado bail bond agencies must keep their service fees within a certain percentage ( No more than 15% with a $50 minimum) This is important to note because if an agency is not following this and is offering rates much higher or lower than what the state allows then it is operating outside the law and should be treated with great caution. It is also important to note that this percentage, known as a bail bond premium, is considered a service charge when working with a bail bondsman and is not refundable. If the defendant has the resources, they also have the ability to pay the total cost upfront in what is known as a cash bond. Cash bonds are paid directly to the court and are considered refundable (minus any fines and fees) when the case concludes.

Bond can be denied in certain instances

While the vast majority of bond hearings will end in either personal recognizance or a bond being set, there are some instances when the bond can be denied by the judge. The main reason why this would happen is that the charges are particularly severe or violent in nature such as murder or terrorism. Another reason why bonds may be denied is that the defendant is considered a high-flight risk. Meaning that any bond cost is not enough to be considered a deterrent or that there is evidence that shows that the defendant had a plan in place to flee prior to arrest.

To conclude, Colorado laws are aimed to create a fair and unbiased way to set bond amounts that rely more on the charges than the person. And with the addition of more recent reforms when it comes to being detained, citizen should hopefully feel better in knowing that there is accountability to ensure that they are seen quickly and treated justly.