You may be able to request a bail reduction. After the police make an arrest, one of the first steps you can expect is a hearing to determine bail. Depending on the seriousness of the charges against you, the judge in your case could set a high bail.
If you believe your bail has been set too high, you typically have the right to request a bail reduction. The judge will consider your request and another hearing may take place during which the judge will grant or deny it. A criminal defense attorney from our firm can assist you throughout this process.
What Is Bail?
Bail is an amount of money determined by a judge that you will have to pay to secure your release from custody until your trial date. If you cannot afford to pay your bail, you will be held in custody.
Being in custody means you will have to remain in jail until the resolution of your case, which could be weeks, months, or years. A low bail amount is preferable to a higher amount, as failure to come up with the funds could mean spending a significant amount of time in jail.
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Can You Seek a Bail Reduction?
If you believe your bail has been set too high, you and your legal representation can request a lower amount by filing a motion for bail reduction, which you can do during any court hearing if you cannot afford to post bail.
Sometimes, bail is set unreasonably high. We will work tirelessly to reduce your bail so you can afford to post it. You can increase the likelihood of a successful bail reduction motion by having family and friends present in the courtroom during the hearing to demonstrate your community ties. We will also present documentation to prove your education and employment.
Are There Benefits of Being Out on Bail?
The main benefit of securing your release on bail is that you don’t have to remain in custody in a jail cell. This allows you to await your trial from the comfort of your home. You can still go to work to earn an income, attend school, and spend time with family and friends. You can live a normal life.
Being out on bail can also benefit your case because you can take an active role in preparing your defense with your attorney. You can help us locate witnesses, discover evidence, and work with us in developing a defense strategy. You will also be in a better position to communicate with your defense team, whether over the phone, through email, or in person.
On the other hand, if you cannot make bail, you will have to remain in custody. This could negatively impact several areas of your life, causing you to lose your job and good standing with friends and family. A defense attorney from our firm will work to secure a low bail amount for you so you can make bail.
What Is the Bail Process?
A preliminary arraignment is typically the first step after an arrest in Pennsylvania. During the hearing, the prosecution will likely request that the judge set your bail high while your lawyer will work to keep your bail low. It will be up to the magistrate or judge overseeing your case to determine your bail amount.
The law says that the judge should set bail based on whether a person is a flight risk of is dangerous. The judge will hear the consider the following to determine whether you present a risk of flight or danger to the community, including:
- Bail guidelines
- Whether you have a criminal record
- The severity of the charges against you
- The strength of the evidence against you
- Your employment status
- If you have legal representation
- Your ties to the community
- Whether you turned yourself in or the police arrested you
The worse the charges are, the higher your bail could be set.
Of course, the court could release you on your own recognizance, which means you don’t have to pay anything. You could also have to agree to pay your bail if you flee or fail to appear at your next hearing. We strongly advise you to refrain from fleeing the community or skipping your next court date because the judge will likely revoke your bail and issue a warrant for your arrest. You would also face additional charges.
How Long Can You Be Held Before Trial If You Can’t Post Bail?
Even if your bail is set at $50,000, you can secure your release by at least paying 10 percent of the amount, which is $5,000. However, not every defendant can afford to pay that much, either. If you face first or second-degree homicide charges, there will be no bail and you will have to remain in custody, according to the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Services.
However, if you can’t afford to post bail, there is a time limit set by the Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600(B) that allows you and your lawyer to file a motion for release if you have been held in pre-trial incarceration for 180 days. The court would have to set a nominal bail. The prosecution would have to file a motion to revoke your bail and prove that you are too much of a danger to release.
Learn More About Bail Reduction Today
Being able to post bail can benefit you and your defense. You don’t have to wait in jail until your trial and you can play a larger more active role in preparing for court. If you can’t afford to post bail, a criminal defense lawyer from the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC will file a bail reduction motion on your behalf.
We will aggressively seek the lowest bail possible no matter how many times we must bring up the subject of your bail in court. If you have criminal charges against you, we strongly encourage you to obtain legal representation to fight for you.
To learn more about bail reduction, or to talk to a defense attorney from our firm about your case, please contact us today.