Bond is money or property that is pledged in order for a person to be released on bail. Bail is the status of a person to be free at liberty during the pendency of their case. When a person is admitted to bail or released on bail, it is typically on the condition that a bond is posted. Bond can either be cash or property. In most cases, it will be a bond that is posted by a bail bondsman. If the person does not ultimately appear at court, the court can order the bond to be forfeited, which means either the bondsman that posted it will have to surrender the money, or if the individual posted their own money, then that will be forfeited to the court. This is a system that incentivizes people to show up at court by causing there to be a financial penalty if they do not. Consult with a Manassas DUI lawyer concerning bail, and the right steps to take in posting bond.
A bond amount is initially determined by the magistrate judge when an individual is first arrested. In some cases, there is no bond required and the person is released on personal recognizance. In other cases, the magistrate will determine a bond number, which is based on the seriousness of the charge, and whether the individual has any history of failing to appear in court or being charged with failing to appear in court. Higher amounts of bond correlate to more serious charges and/or the individual having a history of failing to appear.
The bond amount can be reviewed and changed by the General District Court judge on motion of counsel and there is a further level of review where that bond amount can be appealed to the Circuit Court to be reviewed and potentially changed. There is also the ability to appeal bond to the Virginia Court of Appeals and to the Virginia Supreme Court, but it rarely makes practical sense to do so.
There are a number of ways that bond can be posted. A bond is going to be posted with the magistrate’s office after the bond has been set. This is done either by someone depositing money with the court in the amount of the bond or it can be someone pledging property with the court that is equal or greater to the value of the bond. In most cases, defendants will hire a bail bondsman to post bond for them. The bail bondsman fee is typically somewhere around 10% of the bond amount and the bail bondsman then posts the bond on behalf of the defendant.
The most important thing to know about posting bond is that the amount that is set by the court is not usually the amount that an individual has to pay to secure their freedom. Since there are numerous bail bondsmen that are available to help in these situations, in most cases, a person or their family or friends will need to come up with 10% of the bond amount in order to secure their release. It is important to be aware that bonds are held by the court and are returned only if the individual shows up to all of their court appearances. If property or cash are pledged and an individual does not appear in court, it can be forfeited.
In addition, if a bondsman is forced to forfeit their bond because an individual does not appear, in most cases, the defendant will have liability to the bond company based on their agreement with them.
It is also worth remembering that bail and bond are a privilege and no one has an absolute right to be free during the pendency of their case. The general problem that people have when they have posted a bond or are admitted to bail is that they get a subsequent charge while they are out on bond or violate the terms and conditions of their bond. Leaving the Commonwealth of Virginia when they are not authorized to do so is a common bond violation. When a person violates a condition of their bond, the court can revoke their bond and require that the individual be held in jail until their case comes to trial, which may take months. It is important to take bond conditions seriously.
When an individual is released from jail, usually they will have the warrant that was served on them. In a Manassas DUI case, they will also have a copy of the certificate of analysis for their blood alcohol level. They will have a document, which shows either that they were released on a recognizance or the amount of their bond. Often, they will have received a document letting them know of any administrative suspension of their driver’s license that has occurred, as a consequence of the DUI and a copy of the property inventory, taken by jail staff, of the defendant’s possessions at the time that they were arrested
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