A frequent concern of people facing arrest or awaiting an arraignment is whether or not they will be able to stay out of jail while their case is pending. In a previous post we discussed when a bond is set: At an arraignment, and what an arraignment is.

Today let’s talk about whether you or your loved one can stay out on bail. “Bail” and “Bond” are terms that are sometimes used synonymous in popular culture. At an arraignment there will be a “bond hearing.” At this time the Judge will set an amount of money that is needed to keep a person out of jail. There’s several different kinds of bond:

  1. A Personal Bond. This means no money is required up-front to stay out of jail. Sometimes clients get nervous when they hear a Judge say, “Bond is set at 5 thousand personal” or even “25 thousand personal.” But there’s no reason to be concerned unless the client plans on skipping a future court appearance (Which clients of Barnwell Law do not). Essentially a personal bond with an amount attached is a promise for a client to return to court. If they do not appear, the personal bond is cancelled and a bench warrant will be issued. Now the client is on the hook for the amount attached to the personal bond. But this only happens when somebody skips court or violates a bond order (such as a “no-contact” provision of bond with a complaining witness or “dropping dirty” during a court-ordered drug or alcohol test.
  2.  A Cash/Surety 10% Bond. This is the next best option. Oftentimes a personal bond just isn’t going to be offered by the court. But instead of setting a straight 10 thousand or 100,000 dollar cash bond, they will apply a 10% provision, which for all practical purposes means a person can stay free for 1 thousand dollars instead of 10 thousand, or 10 thousand instead of $100,000. But again, that can be revoked if a person misses a court appearance or violates some term of their bond conditions.
  3.  A Cash/Surety Bond. This is exactly what it means. A straight cash bond with no 10% provision. In this case, the ten thousand dollar bond is just that: $10,000. Nothing less will get a person out. This is often times when people will turn to a bail bonds company. It’s always wise to have a bail bondsman on hand, especially for serious felonies, when there is the likelihood of a high cash bond. In this case, instead of paying the Court 10%, the client or their family can negotiate a deal with a bail bonds company where the company will post a portion of the bond with a guarantee that the client will return to court. Barnwell Law will help clients have a bail bonds company on hand when appropriate.

The difference between paying a bond directly to the court vs. paying a bail bonds company is whatever you pay the bail bond company you will not get back, whereas if a client has a bond posted in their own name, that money will be returned (minus a small fee) at the end of the case if they are acquitted, or if they have their case resolved via a favorable plea, the bond money can be applied to court fines and costs.

The amount the bond is set at is determined by the Judge, who has broad discretion. They will look at a number of factors laid out in state law and the Michigan Court Rules to help determine your bond. Clients with no representation at their arraignment have no idea what these bond factors are are frequently are hit with high cash bonds.

But a lawyer present can make all the difference in the world. A skilled criminal defense attorney knows all of the relevant bond factors the court will look at, as well as a particular Court or Judge’s style of setting bonds.

In sum, a person has a much better chance of securing a personal bond or a lower cash bond with a retained attorney than they do standing alone by themselves without the assistance of a lawyer. For instance, Oakland County has a reputation for being tougher than Macomb or Wayne County, but even in Oakland County, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can help secure a fair and reasonable bond.

Barnwell Law has handled arraignments and bond hearings in many counties all throughout the state of Michigan for all kinds of charges including homicide related charges, drug charges such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, meth, etc, assault charges, larceny charges, embezzlement charges, sexual assault charges, criminal sexual conduct charges,Bail DUI and OWI charges, and many other types of alleged crimes.

If you suspect you or someone you love are under investigation, or you know there is an active warrant for your arrest, reach out to Barnwell Law immediately at (810) 394-2952. It could help make the difference whether you or a loved one sit in jail while the case proceeds or whether you will maintain your freedom while your case proceeds.