The right to reasonable bail when you are facing criminal charges is enshrined in the United States Constitution and in North Dakota’s state constitution. The requirement for reasonable bail is found in the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits “excessive bail,” as does Section 11 of the state constitution. Naturally, that raises the question of what constitutes excessive bail. The answer depends upon circumstances and charges. This is where a lawyer can prove very useful.
The Court Can Put Conditions on Granting Bail
Under both federal law and state law, denying bail under certain circumstances is not considered excessive if the crime is sufficiently severe, such as capital murder, whether the person charged can be considered a risk to flee before trial if released, and whether the defendant is likely to be a risk to the community if released on bail pending trial. Generally, though, bail must be available in some amount, and should only be denied if the court finds that there are no conditions that could be imposed that would reasonably ensure that the accused would actually show up in court or would not pose a risk to the public while out on bail awaiting trial.
Even after bail is set, a defendant has a right to petition for a reduction in bail. In North Dakota, court rules require that the magistrate at a bond hearing usually must release the defendant either on personal recognizance or under an unsecured appearance bond in an amount set by the magistrate. However, those requirements do not apply if the magistrate determines that releasing the defendant without any conditions won’t “reasonably assure” that the defendant will show up for trial or other required court appearances.
In such instances, the magistrate has the power to impose release conditions on defendants to assure that the defendant will not flee. An experienced attorney will be able to argue in favor of conditions that secure a defendant’s release pending trial, often in exchange for reducing the amount of bail required. Some of these conditions include:
- Releasing the defendant into the custody of a specific person or organization for supervision while on release
- Requiring the defendant to have or look for a job or enter an educational program
- Putting restrictions on the defendant’s travel, place of residence, or even with whom the defendant associates while on release
- Requiring that the defendant report regularly to a law enforcement agency or some other government agency
- Imposing a curfew
- Banning use of alcohol or any drugs other than those legally prescribed to the defendant
- Prohibiting the defendant from possessing firearms or other weapons
- Requiring cash or secured bond to ensure release conditions are met and that the defendant appears before the court when required
Consult with a Fargo Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately if You are Facing Criminal Charges and a Bail Hearing
If you have been arrested and are facing a bail hearing, you need an experienced lawyer to obtain the best bail terms possible. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can be counted on to defend your rights and obtain the best possible release and bail conditions. Contact Fargo criminal defense lawyer Tatum O’Brien by email or the legal team of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys