After getting arrested, you will have a few hours to a full day to prepare for your bail hearing. Posting bail will keep you out of custody while awaiting your trial, or some other result in your case, such as a guilty plea or withdrawal of charges.
If the court approves of a bail hearing, consider yourself lucky, because you get the chance to avoid jail time. While the primary purpose of a bail hearing is for the judge to decide on the bail amount, you’d want to have positive outcomes out of it and set the ground for your upcoming trial.
What Happens at a Bail Hearing
A bail hearing, or in some cases, dangerousness hearing, happens during your arraignment, or when the court has decided on your pre-trial release. Like other types of court proceedings, it happens in the courthouse or courtroom before a judge, where the clerk will read out the allegations made against you.
The judge will then call a witness or witnesses to testify. In most cases, the witness is the police officer in charge of the investigation. Based on the circumstances of your arrest, the judge will set an amount, which you will pay as an assurance that you will return to court.
Proving you’re Not a Flight Risk
To be released from custody, you have to prove that you’re not a flight risk. Having significant financial resources might put you at a high flight risk, as the bail judge will assume that you have the means to flee the country and finance a new life. Having fewer community ties can be a big disadvantage.
At a bail hearing, you are given the chance to present documents and proof that you don’t intend to leave the state or country. Proof that you have a stable job, strong ties with your family and the community will do, but character references and memberships to community organizations or volunteer programs will give you an edge.
Getting Your Bail Amount Reduced
There are three ways to post bail in North Carolina. You may either pay the amount in cash, through a surety or bail bonds in Raleigh, NC, or by a recognizance or signature bond. As much as possible, you’d want the judge to grant you the last one, as you won’t have to pay cash if you sign a written promise that you will return to court for your trial and not engage in any illegal activity. But then again, it’s up to the court’s discretion if you can be released on your own recognizance.
The most common type of bail issued during bail hearings is the surety or bail bond. If you can’t afford to post bail in cash, a bail bond is your best chance of not spending your pre-trial days in jail. Raleigh bail bonds services are easily accessible, which your attorney or a representative can arrange for you, regardless of the amount issued by the court.
Bear in mind that a court may exercise its discretion with respect to the allowance of bail “. If you seek a reduction of bail, the court will reevaluate the circumstances of your particular case, especially in the presence of doubt of your innocence.
Communicating at a Bail Hearing
At a bail hearing, your lawyer will do most of the talking, but there are other ways you can communicate with the court and have some control over the results of the proceeding. Keep in mind that courts set a certain amount of bail for two objectives – to ensure your appearance in court and the safety of the community in which you will be released.
For that reason, your behavior from the time of your arrest to your bail hearing and during court recess matters. The best way to communicate that you are not violent and you don’t intend to evade trial or go into hiding is by conducting yourself properly, sufficiently cooperating with the people investigating your case, and providing all the documents your attorney asks for.
A bail judge takes many factors into account when deciding on your pre-trial release or bail amount. Staying too long in jail can be quite damaging to you and your family, so unless you have drug use problems or is deemed a threat to public safety, it’s best that you do your part in getting yourself out of custody.