If you have been arrested, you are entitled to bail, with certain exceptions (capital murder or extraditions).
POSTING A BOND WITHOUT APPEARING BEFORE A JUDGE
If an arrest warrant is issued by the court, a bond amount is often set on the warrant and can be posted without waiting to appear before a judge. If you are arrested without a warrant based on probable cause, you will be brought to the jail and booked. After arrest and prior to any court hearing, a bond interview is conducted by a bond commissioner. This is a person hired by the court to evaluate a person’s ties to the community, risks to reoffend if released and to determine if the arrestee has drug, alcohol or mental health problems which might affect the person’s ability to comply with bond while the case is pending. The bond commissioner can often set bond according to a schedule issued by the court and it may be possible to post the bond without waiting for a formal court hearing. In certain cases, such as domestic violence, sexual assaults or other serious or violent offenses, the bond commissioner will not set bond and the arrestee must wait to appear before a judge.
APPEARANCE BEFORE A JUDGE FOR SETTING OF BOND
If no bond is set, or you are seeking a reduction of the bond amount, there will be a court appearance before a county court judge who will determine the amount and type of bond required. The judge relies on the information provided by the bond commissioner’s interview in setting bond. There may also be conditions imposed as part of the release on bond. These may include a further evaluation of dangerous to the community, or alcohol or drug monitoring while on bond. There is usually a no contact provision in every case where there is a potential victim of the crime being alleged.
TYPES OF BONDS
There are three types of bonds:
Cash: The Court sets a specific cash amount on the case. There are three ways a cash bond can be posted with the court.
- PR BOND: This is a type of bond where there is a cash amount set on the case, but the judge is willing to release you on your own personal reconizance without the necessity of posting actual cash with the clerk of the court. If you have good ties to the community, such as a steady job and several years at your home, plus very little prior criminal history, you may be entitled to a PR bond.
- Co-Signed PR: If your ties are less secure, you may still be eligible for a co-signed PR bond where another person with more stable ties to the community agrees to be responsible for the cash amount of the bond in the event that you fail to appear for court hearings, or fail to meet any conditions imposed as part of the bond. This other person must sign a document, but no cash has to be posted with the court clerk.
- Cash: If you are not entitled to a PR or co-signed PR bond, you can choose to post the entire amount of the bond with the court. This money can be released at the end of the case in the full amount as posted if you meet all your obligations of the bond, such as attending all hearings and abiding by the conditions imposed by the court.
Surety: You can hire a professional bondsman by paying a percentage of the face amount of the bond to the bondsman (usually 15%). This amount is usually non-refundable. In addition, most bondsmen require some type of collateral (such as a house or a car, etc.) to guarantee the remainder of the bond in the event that the bond is ever revoked by the court. The bondsman then posts the bond with the court.
Property: If you own property in the state of Colorado which has proven equity (value), it may be possible to file a lienwith the court against the property for the amount of the bond. The value of the property must be well in excess of the amount of the bond and you must be able to prove ownership of the property. Contact the clerk of the court for more information about a property bond.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer such as Colette Cribari can be invaluable in arguing bond before a judge and may prove critical in securing your release on either a PR bond or in convincing a judge to set the lowest possible amount on the bond.
Conditions imposed as part of a bond are mandatory. It is extremely important that you abide by conditions of your bond, and that you make it to each and every court appearance. Failure to appear or comply with conditions of bond is a criminal offense and you could face additional charges.