Let's review a motion for reconsideration of bail if you've been detained in a federal criminal case. If someone makes their initial appearance in front of a magistrate judge in a federal criminal court and the government argues that the judge should detain that person, and the judge agrees and detains the person, all is not lost.
There is still a possibility to file a motion for reconsideration with that judge, or a motion can be filed with the district judge assigned to the case.
Depending on what type of evidence to be used for the motion of reconsideration of bail, that will likely dictate whether or not the magistrate judge who originally heard the case decides or whether the district judge to who the case has been assigned makes a bail decision.
Usually, I see that if you have new information relating to a person's bail – for example, now you have a property that can be used to bail the person out, the original magistrate judge that heard the case would be the one that makes the decision. Our federal criminal defense lawyers will explain further below.
What Are the Types of Federal Bonds?
If, on the other hand, you're appealing the magistrate judge's decision, then it's likely the district court judge to who the case was assigned will make the final decision on whether or not you or your loved one can be released on some bond condition, such as a:
- surety bond,
- signature bond, or
- some property bond or a cash bond.
There's a slew of different ways that someone can get out on bail, but what the judge is going to be looking at is:
- whether or not you or a loved one is a flight risk; and
- whether or not you or your loved one is a danger to the community.
So, if somebody is charged with a significant drug offense and is caught with a weapon, that person would arguably be a flight risk because they would typically face a 10-year minimum for the drugs and a 5-year minimum for being armed with a gun-related to drugs.
So, the fact that they're facing a minimum of 15 years in federal prison would undoubtedly make them a flight risk, according to a lot of judges in the Central District of California, because that person wouldn't want to be in a position where they're serving a minimum of 15 years.
Also, under that example, it's arguable that that person is a danger to the community because they're putting drugs into the community and armed with a weapon.
Bail Hearings in Federal Criminal Courts
When somebody is arrested by federal law enforcement, one of the first questions they ask is when they can get released from custody? In most state-level arrests, a defendant will post a cash bond through a bail bond agent.
However, in federal criminal courts, cash bonds are not used. Pretrial detention without bond is the most common form of release. Still, there are often arguments between the prosecution and the defense about the adequate amount or conditions of bail necessitating a bond hearing.
A federal bail hearing is also called a detention or bond hearing. The issue of a bond is not only setting a dollar amount. The most crucial factors for the judge to consider when addressing a bond are the following:
- risk to public safety, and
- risk of flight by the defendant
When defendants are released pending a trial, it's based upon:
- Their promise to return to court later, or
- They are required to provide sureties.
This is for defendants willing and able to post collateral in the form of land, property, etc., that is of substantial value and guarantees the defendant's return to the courtroom later.
If the defendant decides to flee the jurisdiction, the sureties will forfeit the posted collateral to the government. Thus, the sureties typically incentivize the defendant to comply with their legal obligations to the federal court.
Judges in the federal system rely on an important document to make bail decisions is a report prepared by the pretrial services department in federal court.
The pretrial services report gives judges critical about the defendant's residency, work history, and any connections to the community. In federal criminal court, it's common for the defendant to be interviewed by pretrial services when preparing the report.
Why Do You Need a Federal Criminal Attorney?
So, this gives you a kind of feel for the analysis that's going to be done. Of course, on the flip side, if you have no criminal record, you have a job, and all of your family is here in the Central District, then you might argue that you're not a flight risk.
You might be eligible for the safety valve if you have no criminal record, which could get you under the 10-year mandatory minimum related to the drugs. The gun would undoubtedly be a problem because that's one of the factors that would block you from getting the safety valve.
So, as you read this article, you start to get a feel for the fact that you're going to need a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney to argue the motion for reconsideration of bail, and you also want to keep an eye on the overall picture which is how the case is going to be handled:
- Are there any motions that can be filed on your behalf to try and upend the case?
- Can you fight the case?
- Does the government have the evidence they need to prove the case against you?
There are several other options when it comes to federal criminal cases. Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I am the founder of the Hedding Law Firm.
I've been doing this for 30 years. I worked for the prosecutors early in my career. I worked for a superior court judge after that, and finally, in the 1990's I became a federal criminal defense attorney and have been defending people like you.