How does a defendant get a low bond on a criminal case?
Once an individual is arrested on criminal charges, the individual may be held in jail until his or her first court appearance. However, most warrants for arrest will include a bond amount and bond conditions. If an individual posts bond, also known as bail, he or she will be released from jail until the first court date.
Essentially, bond is a contract between the court and defendant (or sometimes a third party). The court secures a payment of cash from the defendant with a promise from the defendant that he or she will attend all future court dates. Then, the court holds this money until the final disposition of the criminal case or when the court orders the money released. In some cases, courts can take certain costs from this amount before refunding it, including court costs, fines, or fees.
The court is going to dictate the amount and conditions of the bond based on whatever the court needs to assure the person will come back to court. In State v. Foy, the Kansas Supreme Court noted common factors judge should consider in setting bond amounts. These factors include nature of crime, number of past convictions, and probability of fleeing the state (means and motivation to flee). With that said, bond is going to be higher if the person is a risk, meaning the defendant committed a high-level crime, has numerous past convictions, and/or has a high probability of fleeing the state. On the other hand, bond may just be a promise (no money involved) or set for a lower amount of money when the defendant committed a low-level crime and has a low criminal history or no crime history. In addition to bonds being set based on the factors in State v. Foy, bonds can also be set based on pre-set amounts according to the particular crime committed.
While being “low” risk is one way to lower the bond amount, bond conditions are also a way to lower the bond amount. For example, a restrictive bond condition, such as house arrest, may reduce the risk of escape and lower the bond amount. Another example of a restrictive condition is electronic monitoring, which would also reduce the risk of escape.
It is important to note that bond amounts and conditions are subject to change with a capable defense attorney advocating for the defendant.