A person, also known as a defendant, is brought before a magistrate when an arrest warrant has been issued for violation of a criminal law. The magistrate will conduct a pre-trial bail hearing with four possible results. Once the person is committed to jail, the Judge is the only one who can lower the bond or arrange a recognizance bond, not the magistrate. If the magistrate set a bond, the person may post either a cash bond or a property bond in the amount of the required bond.
The four possible results from the bail hearing are:
Personal Recognizance Bond (PR) – This is the defendant’s written promise to appear in court on the date set and to abide by the terms set by the magistrate. No monetary pledge, cash deposit or security by property or professional bondsman is required.
Unsecured Bond – This release pending court appearance is based on the defendant’s written agreement to appear in court on the date set and abide by the conditions set by the magistrate. It is backed by an agreement by the defendant to forfeit money to the court if he or she does not appear in court on the date set.
Secured Bond – This is secured by either a cash deposit, a pledge of real or personal property, or a pledge by a compensated or non-compensated surety (third party) that the defendant will appear in court on the date set and abide by the conditions of the release. Any such security posted for bond may be forfeited by the judge in the event the defendant does not appear in court on the date set.
Ineligible for Bail – The defendant is denied a release pending court appearance. The bail decision by a magistrate may be appealed to a judge who will re-examine the evidence.
Unable to Post Bond?
If the individual is unable to post a cash or property bond, he or she can still be bonded by a professional bondsman. The responsibility of choosing a bonding agent rests with the inmate because jail personnel cannot recommend one.
A violation of any agreement of release pending court appearance could result in the issuance of a Capias or Order to Show Cause why the release should not be revoked. A Capias or Show Cause may also be issued by a judge for not appearing in court as agreed.