Get a Lower Bond: How Bond Works

Bond has two purposes: (1) ensures a defendant’s return to court and (2) ensures the person will not re-offend while awaiting trial. A lower bond shows a low risk of both of these factors. To get a lower bond, especially at a bond hearing, you will need a lawyer to present evidence to the judge which will allow him/her to assess a defendant as a low risk.

Mark S. Solomon

Mr. Solomon has worked many, many bond issues at both the trial and appeal level.

How much is my bond? Why is my bond so high?

A judge weighs many things when determining bond, such as the nature of the offense charges, the person’s criminal history, ties to the community, etc. A higher bond shows a higher risk of failing to appear at future court dates or reoffending (danger to the community). A lower bond shows a lower risk.

How do I get a lower bond?

If a judge gives a person a lower bond, he must have a good reason. To get your bond lowered, you need to convince the judge that you are likely to show up at all your court appearances, that not likely to flee, and that you are not a risk of re-offending while on bond. If your new offense happened while on probation or parole, a judge will probably not be receptive to hear arguments that you are not likely to re-offend, because the case before him/her was while you were under court orders not to commit new offenses already. Talk to a lawyer to see how to find good things in your life which will allow a judge to give a lower bond, to release you with confidence that he will not be in the news for allowing a dangerous person to run free among law-abiding people.

To get a lower bond, get a lawyer! You can have a bond hearing to ask the court for a lower bond.

What is a PR bond?

A personal recognizance  bond (PR Bond) is a lower bond. This is where the defendant signs his name promising to appear in court.

What is an unsecured bond?

An unsecured bond is a lower bond. This is where a judge assess a bond, but does not require the defendant to pay it to be released. However, if the defendant fails to appear to future court dates or commits new offenses, his next bond will not be a lower bond, it will be a higher bond or no bond.

How does bond work? How do bondsmen work?

After the judge sets a bond, someone has to pay the bond to the court before the defendant can be released. In Colorado, a person can contract with a bondsmen who pays the bond for a fee. The bondsman will typically expect to be paid approximately 10% of the bond, and will keep this as his fee. He will also require a co-signor who guarantees the rest of the bond if the defendant fails to appear to court and the court orders that the bond posted is forfeited. The bondsman’s business is ensuring that he is not the party who loses if the defendant flees. As such, if a defendant flees, the bondsman has two options: (1) send a bounty hunter to find the fleeing defendant and return them to the custody of the court to avoid a bond  forfeiture, or (2) collect the forfeited bond from the co-signor by attaching their collateral (car, house, watch, etc.).

What is a surety?

A surety is where one person pays a bond for the defendant. Why would a judge disallow surety? If the judge deems the person as a high risk to fail to return to court, or a danger to the community, the judge might also believe that the defendant would not care if the surety’s money is forfeited. The judge might believe that the defendant values his/her freedom over the surety’s money.

What About When the Judge Says “No bond”

If the judge says “no bond” then no amount of money or assurances makes the judge feel one or both of those bond objectives is possible, or that the defendant is too risky for either or both to be given a bond.  In short, the defendant is stuck until the judge allows bond. An attorney can help with this through negotiating with the government and reaching an agreement.

What about parole holds?

When a person is on parole and probable cause exists for a revocation, the parole officer (PO) can either arrest the person or issue them a summons to appear at a revocation hearing. Most of the times, the PO does not issue summons, but, rather, arrests them and holds them for a parole revocation hearing.

So, while the parole officer/parole board has the discretion to release a person accused of a parole violation on a summons (like a PR bond), they usually do not do this.

Remember that bond has two purposes: (1) make sure the person comes back to court and (2) does not reoffend while waiting to resolve the case.

If the defendant is facing a new charge, then a conviction for a new offense is almost always grounds to revoke a parole. If that’s the case, the defendant is alleged to have committed a new offense while on supervised release. Generally, this is not an easy case to try to get someone released when evidence exists of their reoffending while on supervised release: parole.

To have any hope of a defendant’s release in this situation, get a lawyer and talk to them about the specifics of the situation.

1 Comment

John Carston · May 26, 2016 at 9:09 am

This post has given me a lot of information to know how bonds work. I think it’s especially helpful to know how to get a lower bond, from what you wrote. I’ll have to keep this info in mind as I research appeal bonds in more detail.

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