When one is arrested, after they are detained and go through the booking process, they will have to go through what is known as a bond or first hearing within 24-48 hours from detainment. If you have never dealt with this before you may wonder what exactly is this hearing and what happens during it. To answer these questions, here is a quick summary.
What is a bond hearing
A bond hearing Is different from a trial or any other type of court hearing because it’s purpose is to solely decide if the defendant should be released and how much the bond should cost if granted or if the defendant should remain in custody until their actual court hearing. There is no jury involved in this a single judge will be the one to decide whether a release is appropriate or not.
How bail is set
Now the way that a judge decides if a defendant should be released is far from arbitrary and actually many different factors are accounted when the decision is made. Some of the most heavily weighted factors would be how severe the charges are and if there is any type of threat to the victims, society, or the defendant themselves if they were to be released. Other things taken into consideration are past criminal history if this is the defendant’s first arrest, could they be considered a flight risk for any reason and even things like employment history can be helpful in showing the defendant is a contributing member to society.
What happens during the hearing
During a bond hearing, a judge will preside with no jury but the legal defense will be there and the public may usually attend (though rules may be different during the pandemic.) During this time, the judge will listen to arguments made and go through the defendant’s records then conclude on if bond will be offered and how much it will be set to.
At that point the defendant, if offered bond, can decide whether they want to try to pay the bond fully or work with a bail bondsman if they are not able to afford to pay the entire bond.
In conclusion, though it seems like a normal court hearing, in reality, all that actually happens at this point is to decide whether or not the defendant can be released while awaiting the actual hearing.