This bail issue comes up all the time, and unfortunately, people are so zeroed in on it, they forget about the fact they actually have a federal criminal case pending against them.
Regardless of whether they or their loved one gets out on federal bail, that case is not going away. Depending on how serious it is, the person is likely to get some federal time anyway.
Initial Court Appearance Before a Magistrate
When we talk about federal bail and how it works, we're talking about the magistrate, when you make that initial appearance, is going to decide whether or not you are detained, which basically means you can't get out.
There's no bail, nothing, that would allow you to get out. A lot of times I see people getting detained because they're facing a mandatory minimum sentence, whether it be from a sex crime case, a drug case, or some other serious case.
That if they get convicted, they'll get a minimum of 10 years in federal prison at 85% for example. Under that circumstance, there's going to be a presumption that you shouldn't get out and that you should be detained.
The prosecutors will argue for detention, and it will ultimately be up to the federal magistrate whether or not you're released on some conditions.
Getting Released From Custody on Bond
The next step is, what mechanism is going to allow you to get released on some sort of bond? It's mainly probation doing an interview of you and your family, and making a decision whether or not they believe you should be able to get out and if you do, how you would do that. I would say that is combined with:
- your own attorney being able to use the probation report, and
- use who you are as an individual and a flight risk and a danger to the community,
- in order to argue for your release under some condition.
So, that probation report will be there. They'll do an investigation.
Obviously, I try to help them in the investigation and get ahold of the family members that are necessary so that they can talk to them.
They need to vet them and get whatever information they need, so when I get to court there's a report there that gives me a chance to try to argue to get my client out.
The different forms of being able to get out in a federal criminal case, I would say the strongest one that will put you in the strongest position, if for example, the government is arguing that you should be detained, is if you've got some property that has equity in it. This is a powerful alley:
- Let's say for example, you have a family home and in that property there's $300,000.00 in equity;
- We could argue to the magistrate, instead of you being detained, use the property to post what's called a property bond.
Basically, that's where the property is deeded over to the court for the $300,000.00 in our example, and if you don't show up, you flee, then they can foreclose on the property and get the $300,000.00.
That's a pretty powerful tool to be able to use so that the court, and even the prosecutors in a lot of circumstances, are satisfied that you're going to show up for court and not commit any other crimes while you're out of custody.
The next level of bond would be what I would characterize as a signature bond. That's where:
- you, your family member or friend or business acquaintance signs documentation basically saying that if you don't show up for court,
- if you flee the jurisdiction, then
- whatever amount you agreed upon, they're going to come and get from you.
For example, a friend or family member could sign a $25,000.00 signature bond, basically guaranteeing and promising that if the defendant doesn't show up, the government can get the $25,000.00 from them.
This is fairly easy to do because all you have to do is sign and agree. You don't actually don't have to come out of pocket in order to get the person out. You could use multiple signature bonds from multiple people.
Flight Risk and Danger to Community
This is all dependent on a bunch of different factors:
- Number one, is the person a flight risk?
- Number two, is the person a danger to the community?
Both of these are the main two arguments in a bail hearing. If the government can successfully argue that you or a loved one's a flight risk of a danger to the community, they'll probably be able to keep him in custody.
If the defense can show an argument that they're not a danger to the community or a flight risk, then obviously, we'd be in a position to try to get them out under one of these forms of bail that I mentioned.
More and more, it's relatively easy to get people out of federal cases if they don't have a criminal record or are not facing a mandatory minimum because of the Coronavirus overcrowding in the jails and the inability of the federal system to really grapple with what's going on.
They're using video, but they don't have enough video in order to accommodate everybody.
Criminal Defense for Federal Crimes
They want to let the person out in general, but there are those cases where you're facing a 10-year mandatory minimum or you have drug charges with multiple kilos.
Or, you're involved with minors on the internet, these are the type of cases the prosecutors are trying to keep you out, so that's where your defense attorney is going to have to mount an argue that makes sense to the judge in order to get you out under either a signature bond or a property bond.
There's other types of bond they can do. They can do a bond where you use a bail bondsman. That's usually not done at the federal level.
So, if you or a loved one needs help, they've been arrested, their bail hearings coming up, I would get an attorney right away.
I've been doing this now for 27 years with a lot of success. So, if you need help, pick up the phone.
Ask to speak to Ron Hedding. I can usually respond very quickly and start helping you right away.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.