Under the U. S. Constitution and North Carolina General Statutes, you may be entitled to pre-trial release on a bond when you are arrested in North Carolina. The purpose of a bond is to provide assurance to the court that you will appear at all court hearings in your case. Failure to appear as ordered results in a revocation of your bond and the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. In order to be released on bond, the court must also conclude that you do not pose a danger to others.
North Carolina General Statute 15A-534(a) provides for four types of bond.
- Written Promise to Appear – You must sign a statement agreeing to appear in court before you be released. This type of bond is sometimes granted in misdemeanor cases where the person is not considered a flight risk and has strong ties to North Carolina, but is fairly rare.
- Unsecured Bond – The courts sets a specific bond amount; however, the court does not require that you pay any funds to the court or provide security for the bond amount.
- Custody Release – This type of bond is often used when the defendant is a minor, is ill, is not mentally sound, or requires supervision and care. The defendant is released into the “care and custody” of a person or organization who agrees to all conditions of the bond and agrees to supervise the defendant during his or her release.
- Secured Bond – The court will set a specific amount for your bond that must be satisfied before you are released. You must either secure the amount by a cash deposit with the court; secure the bond with a mortgage or other asset; or, obtain the service of a bail agent or bail bondsman.
A court may also set something called a “cash bond”. This is similar to a secured bond, except that it may only be posted using United States Currency, not by posting property or other collateral or hiring a bonding company.
How Do They Determine the Amount of Bond, and How Do I Change It?
The Constitution and North Carolina laws state that you cannot be charged an excessive bond amount. Because “excessive” is not defined, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that your bond amount is not excessive for the crime. The judge uses several factors to determine the bond amount including the alleged offense, your criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating factors. In most cases bonds are set initially by a Magistrate Judge at the time of your arrest. Often they will follow general bond amount guidelines that have been set by the local courts, but they are free to use their discretion. Many times an attorney can speak to the magistrate before they set the bond to try to have it set lower or changed to an unsecured bond.
After the magistrate has set a bond, it can be reviewed and potentially changed by a District Court Judge at any time. If the amount of your bond is excessive, you can file a motion to have the bond changed. Sometimes this is done after your lawyer negotiates a bond reduction with the prosecutor. Other times it may be necessary to have a hearing and ask the judge to modify the bond over the objections of the District Attorney.
In addition to a specific monetary amount, the court can add conditions to your bond. Potential conditions may include restricting your travel, requiring you to abstain from the use of drugs and/or alcohol, regular or random drug screenings, and house arrest. Just as with the monetary amount, conditions for a bond should not be “excessive” for the crime. A motion to have your bond changed may be used to request a change of the conditions.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers Attorney
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We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 347-0161 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.
The criminal defense attorneys of Welch and Avery want to help you get out of jail and stay out of jail. We can help mitigate the consequences of being arrested in North Carolina. Contact our office as soon as possible to discuss filing a motion to have the conditions of your bond changed.
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