By Diane Bass, Criminal Defense Attorney, Orange County, California
Bail Bondsmen play a completely different roll in Federal Court. The federal court does not accept bail bonds in the same way that they do in State Court. Bonds in Federal Court are either Signature Bonds which are unsecured bonds very similar to a promissory note, usually signed by a responsible third party. The other type of bond used in Federal Court is a Property Bond or a Bond that is secured by property, almost always real estate.
Posting a Secured Property Bond is a complex procedure. It’s involves many steps. A property bond requires a current appraisal. It requires an updated lot book report from a title company and the filing of notarized documents with the county recorder’s office. Each step must be done correctly and in a certain order.
As a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, I find the process so complicated that I have referred many of my clients to Bail Bond Professionals to handle their property bonds. They have extensive experience with this process and they do an excellent job.
How does the court determine the amount of the bond?
There are two different ways you will be brought into court in a Federal Case. The first, and obviously better way to be brought in to court is on a summons. If you and your criminal defense attorney have worked out a pre-indictment resolution of your case, your attorney will hopefully have pre-arranged a bond amount with the U.S. Attorney’s office and she will have made arrangements for you to appear in court on a given date. If the U.S. Attorney’s office agrees to a specific amount, you can have the appraisal and necessary documents ready to go so that the bond can be posted by Bail Bond Professionals within a couple of days.
If you are arrested and brought into court in a federal case, bail will be determined at a detention hearing before a federal magistrate judge. The magistrate will determine whether you are a flight risk and whether or not you pose a danger to the community. The issue of flight is decided based on a number of factors including how long you have lived in the district in which you are charged, family ties to the community, employment, education, prior criminal history, whether or not you travel frequently, whether or not you possess a passport, whether or not you have any failures to appear or warrants or whether you have ever used any aliases.
The court will also want to know whether you have any financial resources. If you or a family member are willing to post equity that may be available in real property that is owned by your or your family member, the court will consider that.
Whether or not you will be considered a danger to the community depends primarily upon the charges and any prior criminal conduct. If someone is determined to be a danger, bond will not be granted.
The court will often release a defendant forthwith with the signature of a responsible third person pending the completion of the process of posting the property bond.
The court will set certain conditions of bond. These conditions almost always include reporting to pretrial services which is similar to being on probation pending trial. You will have to remain within the district in which you are charged unless you have permission from the court to travel outside the district. You must stay away from any airport, train station, bus station or seaport; and you must surrender your passport to the court. Drug testing is required in any case where there is information or allegations of drug use. A violation of any of the terms or conditions of your bond can cause the court to revoke the bond and take you into custody.
I highly recommend Bail Bond Professionals to help you through this process.