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Federal Criminal Courts And Understanding The Bail Process

If you or someone you love has been detained and arrested by federal investigators and is facing federal criminal charges, it is overwhelming. With over 27 years of experience in the criminal court system, I am a former federal prosecutor and I founded the Law Offices of Peter Katz to defend clients in New York and New Jersey who are accused of federal crimes.

What Happens After An Arrest?

There are several different federal investigatory agencies. In the criminal federal court process, the investigative agents work with federal prosecutors to file charges against accused criminals. When a criminal defendant is arrested, they will have a hearing shortly thereafter. During this hearing, they will be informed of the charges against them and a magistrate judge will decide if the defendant is eligible for bail.

What Is Bail?

Bail is the amount of money that a defendant agrees to pay to the court in order to be released from jail. Bail is cash, or a bond, that is held by the court. In the event the defendant fails to appear at a court hearing or comply with other conditions of their release, the cash or money used to secure the bond will be forfeited to the court.

What Are Your Rights To Bail?

According to the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a judge cannot set bail at an unreasonable amount. Under federal laws, the judge is required to set bail at an amount that will reasonably ensure that the defendant will appear at any scheduled court hearings. The court must consider the following factors when determining bail including:

  • The nature of the crime charged
  • The defendant’s ties to the community
  • The financial resources of the defendant

However, if the court determines that the defendant is a danger to the public, the court also has the discretion to deny bail altogether.

What Are The Possible Outcomes Of A Bail Hearing?

At a federal bail hearing, or arraignment as it is often called, the court must order one of the following outcomes for the defendant while the defendant is awaiting trial:

  • Release the defendant without bail and on their recognizance
  • Release the defendant with bail and specific conditions for release
  • Detain the defendant temporarily
  • Detain the defendant without bail

The judge will consider the likelihood of the defendant showing up in court if released on their own recognizance and without bail. By implementing certain conditions, the court will try to ensure that the defendant will show up for subsequent hearings and the trial. The court will also take into consideration the safety of the public and whether or not the defendant’s release will threaten public safety.

What Are The Types Of Conditions For Release?

The federal judge has the discretion to order that the defendant be released, provided the defendant meet certain conditions. Possible conditions for release include:

  • The defendant promises not to commit new crimes
  • The defendant assures the court that they will remain in the custody of another person’s supervision or adhere to a curfew
  • The defendant promises to maintain employment or enroll in school or undergo treatment
  • The defendant agrees not to associate with certain individuals
  • The defendant agrees to avoid contact with any victims or prospective witnesses

If the defendant fails to adhere to the conditions of their release, bail could be revoked and the defendant could potentially be held in incarceration until the trial concludes.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Is Critical To Your Freedom While Awaiting Trial

An experienced defense attorney who knows and understand how bails and bonds work in the federal court system is crucial to securing your freedom for the foreseeable future while you await your trial. A criminal defense lawyer can help you, your friends and family better understand the process and even assist you with obtaining a bond through a bondsman to secure your release.

Schedule A Confidential Consultation Today

To schedule a confidential, free consultation, call our office at 609-900-2648 or send me an email through my website. During this no-obligation initial appointment, I will tell you more about how I can help you with your case.