Arrest warrants can change your life rather quickly. If an arrest warrant has been issued — regardless of what you may think of the allegations — contact an experienced attorney immediately. How you handle the initial stages of your case is critical. Moreover, arresting officers are likely to ask you questions, and you should consider first talking to a lawyer first.
When a criminal charge is filed, the court also issues a warrant for your arrest. The arrest could lead to your continued detention pending trial, so often your lawyer’s first challenge is to get you released on bond. A bond is an agreement for release on conditions, designed to serve two general purposes — ensure the person’s continued appearance in court and the safety of the community by placing conditions on the defendant. Whether getting released on bond is possible depends on a lot of things, but here are some guiding principles.
State Arrest Warrants
Sometimes the warrant has on it an interim bond amount that already has been set by the court. In that case, someone must go to where the person is in custody and post the amount specified in the warrant. Jails have different requirements regarding the method of payment, so you should call to find out how you can pay the bond amount. In other cases, no bond has been previously set, so the person must first be arraigned by the court, which might not occur until at least the following day. While waiting in jail, someone from the court may interview the defendant to gather information to assist the judge in making a determination on bond. The defendant should cooperate with this process, being mindful not to discuss the case or the allegations.
Bonds in state court usually take three forms:
- Personal Recognizance: which does not require the person to post any money
- Cash (Surety): Requires posting a specified amount of cash or hiring a bondsman to post the amount for a non-refundable fee, usually 10%
- Court (10%) Bonds: Requires posting 10% of the bond’s face amount with the court, which will be refunded at the end of the case
Typical conditions of bond require the person to report regularly to court services, not commit any violations of law, not leave the state without the court’s permission and not associate with or contact certain persons.
Federal Arrest Warrants
If the person is arrested on a federal warrant, the government is likely to ask the court to hold the person without bond pending trial. The person will first be taken to court and advised of the charge, and the court will schedule a hearing, which may take a few days. If counsel does not yet represent the person, the court may assign counsel. Even if the government does not seek detention, it may take a day or two to get the person released, because the court has to determine the appropriate conditions for release following a hearing. During this process, someone from the court’s pretrial services office will interview the defendant. Everyone should cooperate with this process, being mindful not to discuss the case or its allegations.
If the court does not detain the person, it may order release under a variety of conditions. Typical conditions limit the person’s travel, association or contact with certain persons, and, if applicable, substance abuse counseling or treatment. In the federal court in West Michigan, most defendants are released without having to post money.
For more information about arrest warrants and bail bonds, or to learn more about the experienced and trusted criminal defense attorneys at Willey & Chamberlain, contact us here or call our office directly at 616.458.2212.