Bail Reductions

I think my loved one’s bail is too high. I want my lawyer to file a bail reduction motion. Will the bail get reduced?

There are guidelines for bail and rules for what factors the judge should use to determine bail, but I think of bail as a totality of circumstances surrounding the defendant’s life situation. Without any citation to law, and without any statutory or lawyerly basis, I tell my clients four things that I think about when writing a motion for a bail reduction.

1. Have you ever had a bench warrant, meaning that you didn’t show up to court? I am not talking about the current case. I am talking about as an adult or as a juvenile. I am not just talking about the coutny your case is in, I am talking about any where in the United States. In other words, are you a flight risk? Do you come to court? If you have never been arrested before and you live in the same county in which you were arrested, this is good for you because you are not a flight risk.

2. What does your prior record look like? Do you have 21 arrests and 15 felony convictions? The more contacts, the less likely a judge is to change bail.

3. What is your current charge? Rape? Possession of Marijuana? The more serious, higher bail is reasonable?

4. Has there been a change in circumstance since the initial setting of bail? Has the DA’s office totally failed to prosecute you in every imaginable way? For example has the complaining witness been to court? Have they failed to appear twice? Has the DA asked for five continuances for no reason? But, on the other hand, were you out on bail and got arrested on another case? Have they brought more charges against you on an unrelated allegation?

I use the above four factors when I write the bail reduction motion. Generally, if all four factors are in favor of the defendant, most reasonable judges will reduce bail somewhat or put the defendant on house arrest until trial.

In the alternative, as I have written in previous posts, after 180 days of commonwealth time, you may have a 600e right to get out of jail on nominal bail until trial. Read those articles for more info. Good Luck.

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