When a person is charged with a crime, the first court hearing that will happen is an arraignment. At the arraignment, the accused is provided a copy of the complaint and learns the specific laws they are alleged to have broken. The Court will make a determination at the initial arraignment regarding bond. To determine the appropriate amount to set for bond, the court rules require the judge to consider specific factors. A skilled attorney could explain bond and bond factors in more detail during an initial consultation. Below, we will list those factors and explain the best position to take and the best arguments to focus on.
A defendant’s prior criminal record, including juvenile offenses
Obviously, the less of criminal record the person has, the lower the bond is likely to be. In most of our criminal sexual conduct cases, our clients are released on bond. Sometimes they have to follow conditions such as a house arrest or adhere to the terms of GPS tether. There are circumstances with some criminal sexual conduct cases, however, where setting no bond is an option for the Court.
A defendant’s record of appearance or nonappearance at court proceedings or flight to avoid prosecution
The Court will look at whether the person has a history of failing to appear for court hearings. We try to turn each of our clients in when a warrant is issued for their arrest. By showing up voluntarily and on their own volition, our clients are more likely to get a reasonable bond. We often say that when we walk into court with our client, they are more likely to walk out with us after court. The harder circumstances are when people wait too long before they hire a lawyer, and the person is behind bars before we get involved. Getting a person out of jail is more difficult than avoiding incarceration in the first place.
A defendant’s history of substance abuse or addiction
A judge deciding bond will consider substance abuse and addiction issues. This is particularly true in our cases where the allegations involved a person who was intoxicated or alleged to be incapacitated at the time of an allegation.
A defendant’s mental condition, including character and reputation for dangerousness
The Court will want to be sure that the accused is not a threat to the public and that the person will not run from the charges.
The seriousness of the offense charged, the presence or absence of threats, and the probability of conviction and likely sentence
This is always the most difficult factor in criminal sexual conduct cases that works against the accused. This is true because any claim of criminal sexual conduct is serious on its face – and allegations involving children are especially concerning to the courts. It is important to remind the court that allegations are only accusations and each person who is accused is presumed to be innocent.
A defendant’s employment status and history and financial history insofar as these factors relate to the ability to post money bail
Having a job is a definite positive in the eyes of the court. Most judges will allow a person to continue working while they are released on bond, although in some rare circumstances the person will have to follow conditions that are similar to a house arrest situation.
The availability of responsible members of the community who would vouch for or monitor the defendant
The more connections a defendant has to people who are supportive of them during a case, the better. When the court can see that community members trust an individual defendant, it certainly helps them feel more confident to release a person on bond. Many of our clients have spouses, children, and other family members who are more than willing to step up for them.
Facts indicating the defendant’s ties to the community, including family ties and relationships, and length of residence
We ask our clients to tell us about all of their connections to the community. The details are always important. A reasonable bond is more likely to be set when a person owns property in the community, has lived there a number of years and has family members or friends nearby that would make them less likely to ever considering running away.
Any other facts bearing on the risk of nonappearance or danger to the public
If there is anything unique to show our client will appear in court and is not a danger, we always make sure to use it to our client’s advantage in terms of securing a bond. Having our clients out of jail makes such a difference. Not only is it easier and more convenient to work together when a client is free, they also do not have the psychological weight on their shoulders of being locked up.
Discuss Bond with a Skilled Michigan Sex Crimes Attorney
If you are facing a criminal sexual conduct case in Michigan, the best thing you can do is hire a lawyer as early as possible. This will increase your odds of getting out on a reasonable bond and not starting your case locked up in jail. One of the first things we do with every new client is determine the arguments for each of the factors above that are specific to the client’s case and situation. Being well prepared makes a major difference when it comes to walking our clients right back out of the courtroom versus watching them be taken away in shackles to the jail. If you have questions about bond or the bond factors we are happy to review everything with you at a consultation. Call our office at (248) 636-2595 to set up an appointment.