When someone is arrested they have to go through a series of steps in order to be released. The first is known as the booking phase where information is taken but then comes the bond hearing. This will be the time in which it is decided whether or not bond will be offered. But exactly is a bond hearing and what should be expected? To answer this, here is an overview.
Bond hearings differ from a trial
The point of a bond trial is to have a defendant’s charges brought before a judge to decide whether or not the defendant should be released before their trial and if so what the bond amount should be set at. During this hearing, there won’t be any decisions made about the charges themselves so you won’t get a verdict or have any type of sentencing. The main purpose is to assess the flight and safety risk of the defendant to see if they will return to court as promised if released.
The judge will decide the outcome
In a bond hearing, the judge who presides over the hearing will solely decide on if offering bond is appropriate and at how much. There are no juries in bond hearings since bond hearings typically happen quite quickly after booking so vetting jurors would not make sense. The defendant will however have their defense attorney or public defender with them to help them state their side and most bond hearings are open to the public so loved ones will be able to attend if it brings comfort.
Several things will be looked at to make a decision
When the judge decides on bond they will look at many factors to decide whether or not the defendant can safely be released. Some red flags that can jeopardize a chance of bond would be if the charges are severe or particularly violent or if there is a fear that the defendant may be a threat to their own lives. Also if the defendant already has a substantial criminal history or if they were rearrested while out on bond , this may impact the judge’s view on if it is likely that the defendant will show for their court appearance which could, in turn, could have them revoke bail. The other issue that most likely won’t cause bond to be revoked but can significantly bump up the cost of bond would be if the defendant has a lot of resources or if they are from a different state or country which would make the defendant a high flight risk.
In the end, a bond hearing for most will not be a huge event and if their charges are minor and the defendant is a first time offender, they may even be released through personal recognizance but far more often than not bond is offered and it is rarely an astronomical number.