After a person is arrested on criminal charges, they are given a bail hearing. At a bail hearing, it is the judge’s priority to determine how to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court when it comes time for sentencing. In order to accurately do this, the magistrate reviews various aspects of the defendant and their case.
Continue reading to learn what is to be expected at your bail hearing if you were recently indicted on criminal charges.
Factors Reviewed By a Judge
During a bail hearing, the magistrate reviews the nature and circumstances of a defendant’s criminal charges. Primarily, they will be focused on learning whether or not the crime involved narcotics or violence. Also during a bail hearing, the court may review the defendant’s financial profile (i.e. property value, possessions, etc.) to see if they have assets that can be offered as collateral for bail.
There are various other aspects of a bail hearing that are examined by the judge. For instance, the judge will assess the weight of the evidence gathered against the defendant. They will also confirm if the defendant was on parole or probation when the new charges were brought against them.
Also, the judge will need to determine if the defendant poses a threat or danger to themselves, to others, and the community if released on bail. They will mostly make this determination based on the defendant’s character and criminal history.
Courts look at all sorts of evidence and criteria to assess a person’s level of threat to themselves and the community. The most common forms of evidence used to make this assessment include a person’s physical and mental condition, financial resources, family relations, drug and alcohol abuse history, court appearance record, length of residence in the community, and as mentioned, their criminal history.
As for the protection of the community, the courts may order a defendant to a number of mandatory requirements. Common court orders like these include staying within given boundaries, acquiring full-time employment, submitting to random drug and alcohol screening, committing to medical, psychiatric, or psychological treatment, and much more.
Bail Hearing Decisions
Whatever decisions are made at a bail hearing usually stick. It is unlikely for an appellate court to overturn a bail decision unless it was obviously unreasonable, erroneous, or arbitrary, and not supported by facts or law in relation to the case.