Some people who get arrested and accused of crimes are sent home with a court summons, which is called being released on your own recognizance. Others will have to wait in jail while their case is pending. Some people might only be released if they post bond – also commonly referred to as “bail.”
Bail is an amount of money that a criminal defendant pays to the court, which can be returned to the defendant at the end of their case. The idea behind having the court hold this money is that it will make the defendant more likely to appear in court. If a defendant fails to appear, the funds are revoked and not returned.
Bail is intended to be reserved for defendants who are accused of serious offenses, who might pose a threat to the community if released, or who pose a flight risk based on their circumstances. Unfortunately, police departments and judges often set bail for defendants that is unnecessary or too high based on the situation at hand.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can request a bail hearing in your case when needed. At this hearing, your attorney can make arguments that the bail is unreasonable and that you do not pose a flight risk or a threat. Some arguments might include:
- You have strong ties to the community, including a job, home, and family
- You do not have a history of violent crime, or possibly any criminal history at all
- Your charges do not involve violence or threats/harm to others
In many cases, the right lawyer can get your bail reduced to a reasonable amount or can even get you released on your own recognizance, meaning you do not have to pay anything, and the court is trusting your promise to appear in court.
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the right to be free from excessive bail. However, across the United States, defendants are stuck in jail for minor offenses due to bail that is set too high and beyond their financial means. Advocates in North Dakota, Minnesota, and throughout the country are fighting for bail reform to prevent excessive bail from keeping people in jail, while others who can afford their bail walk free for more serious offenses. Many states have already implemented reform programs regarding bail, but North Dakota has not yet made any major changes to the bail system. This is why it is especially important to have the help of a lawyer as soon as possible after you are arrested.
Learn How a Fargo Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A Fargo criminal defense lawyer can help you in many ways, including working to get your bail reduced or eliminated. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyer, Tatum O’Brien, by email, or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002 as soon as possible.