What Does “No Bond” Mean?

by Lawteryx editor on October 25, 2016

Police officer arresting young man: LawteryX Criminal Law Articles

Being arrested is never a good experience, but it can even more troublesome when the judge of jurisdiction has found some reason to deny bond completely. This is more common than many people realize, especially with weekend arrests, and these situations can often be rectified when an arraignment proceeding is held on the next court business day.

However, all defendants are not necessarily brought to court immediately following their arrest. Thus, being held on a “no bond” status until the judge can hold an arraignment and bond eligibility hearing can leave the defendant in legal limbo.

So, why would you not have a bond assignment in your particular criminal case?

Entitlement to Bond

Most defendants are entitled to a specific bail bond amount based on the type of criminal charge being brought against them and the material case facts. Bond eligibility can depend on a variety of issues such as potential for fleeing the state to avoid prosecution. This is especially true with felony charges that will carry a definite jail term. Issues other than flight risk include the claimed use of a hand gun in commission of the crime or the defendant’s prior history of failing to appear in court.

In most cases, having an experienced criminal defense attorney and bail bond lawyer can help when attempting to establish enough personal responsibility to the court that the defendant will appear in court. While the typical defendant who has no prior history is often allowed a release from jail on their “own recognizance,” known as an OR release, most defendants will be assessed some level of financial bond set by local court policy.

Bonds can vary greatly across jurisdictions, as some prosecutors are more serious about certain crimes in a particular area and can argue for a higher bond amount based on extenuating case circumstances. The final result can be that entitlement to a bail bond does not always apply when a charge is very serious.

Understanding Why the Judge Can Deny Bond

Common reasons for a judge to deny bond until a formal court appearance usually include prior failure to appear, regardless of the seriousness of the charge. This is where the trial process begins. Many times your criminal defense attorney can successfully convince the court to set a bond with a co-signatory, especially when a licensed bonding agent has expressed a willingness to carry the bond for the defendant.

Texas is a state that actually allows bail bond agencies to intercede with the court and be financially liable for the defendant’s court appearance. This is very common in high bond cases. Many times the bond agent will also request a signatory and even some form of collateral in the event the defendant will flee anyway. The judge can also assess the defendant for danger to the community, including a designated victim in some cases, and the mental stability condition of the defendant.

However, in most cases, a defendant is actually entitled to bond when they can demonstrate they are not hostile and willing to sign an agreement that they will appear in court to face the charges.

Can Your Attorney Make a Difference?

The short answer to this question is yes, in many cases.

Attorneys always conduct some form of investigation into a criminal case before accepting the defendant as a client and their status as an officer of the court can help influence a judge into some type of bond arrangement. Your attorney can evaluate the evidence being used to prosecute and address each issue, which can be an important part of the trial process when cases are being charged on borderline or weak evidence.

The perceived seriousness of a criminal charge is often a major component of judicial reasoning when setting no bond in a criminal case, and your criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in a successful bond hearing case. Remember, however, that many times certain conditions will apply and no subsequent arrest can also be a stipulation, which a judge can then use to hold the defendant without bond again on a release agreement violation.

Anyone who has a family member who is being held without bond by the state should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney and let them evaluate the potential for some type of bond arrangement with local court system.

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