A Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Bail Evaluations

A Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Bail Evaluations

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Getting arrested can be a scary situation. Having an understanding of what happens after an arrest will help calm anxiety and give you some direction. You should consider whether to hire a professional criminal defense lawyer before doing anything else.

After your initial arrest your case will be evaluated and a decision will be made about bail. There are many factors that will be taken into account to decide how much bail you will need to post. If you cannot post bail, you may have to stay in jail until your case is settled, so your bail evaluation is a critical part of your case.

Who Decides Bail?

In some jurisdictions the court will make the decision about bail, but in other jurisdictions agencies are hired to evaluate each case and make a recommendation to the court. In either case, interviews will be conducted, your criminal record will be included, and the severity of your crime will be assessed. If you hire a professional criminal defense lawyer you will have good advice for this process.

Two main areas will be a guiding factor in your evaluation:

  • Are you a risk to public safety? The answer will be determined in part based on whether your crime is violent, and whether you are arrested for a first-time offense.
  • Are you a flight risk? Much of the information gathered will involve the support system you have, and what level of accountability you have to your family, job, and other connections. Strong support, a good work history, and family connections work in your favor.

The Interview Process

As the agency or entity deciding your bail proceeds be aware of some things that can work in your favor. Questions will cover a range of your personal history, such as age, education, employment, and connections to family members.

  • Be honest. Lying or misleading those evaluating your case is one of the worst things you can do. Dishonesty will cause those deciding on bail to have doubts about the safety of the community and your risk of flight. Be sure to answer each question truthfully, and tell your family to do the same.
  • Don’t forget about fines, restitution, or infractions of the law. Any fine or restitution you have been ordered to pay means that you have a prior record. Many people don’t realize this and neglect to mention previous brushes with the law during the interview.
  • Be cooperative. Give complete contact information when asked, and show a willingness to be open and forthcoming.

Will a lawyer be present during the interview?

Your legal counsel will not be present during bail evaluation interviews. If you have prior offenses, an honest answer to a question may hurt your case. Hiring a professional criminal defense lawyer is the key to navigating those answers in the best way for you, and your attorney can provide helpful information during the process as well. It’s best for you not to wait to contact a lawyer right away.

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