Plate Bail bonds and handcuffs on it - bail in federal court concept

When someone is arrested and charged with a crime, they are taken into custody while awaiting trial. In many cases, a defendant can be released from custody while waiting for their trial date. To request pretrial release in federal court, the criminal defendant must follow the federal pretrial release process, which has its own set of rules and procedures.

Petitioning for pretrial release is not a straightforward task, and working with an attorney will improve your chances of success. Federal criminal defense attorney Hope Lefeber has dedicated her career to representing people accused of crimes in federal court. With over 30 years of experience, she has an in-depth understanding of the federal pretrial release process and can offer guidance and legal representation to help ensure you are released from custody while you await trial.

Can You Get Bail on Federal Charges?

Federal law contemplates the release of a suspect during the pretrial phase of a criminal case. A federal judge has the discretion to grant pretrial release on a defendant’s personal recognizance or through a conditional release.

Posting Bail in Federal Court

Pretrial release is a complicated and uncertain process that should not be undertaken without experienced legal representation. A criminal defendant has certain constitutional rights that must be protected. The federal pretrial release process is unique, and you should have an attorney with you who understands the process and can protect your rights.

Initial Appearance

Soon after being arrested, a criminal defendant will appear in court, where the judge will advise the defendant of their rights and the criminal charges they are facing.

At the initial appearance, the judge will ask the prosecutor whether they recommend detaining the defendant until trial or releasing the defendant on bond. If the prosecutor supports the defendant’s release, the judge can set the terms and conditions of the defendant’s pretrial release. The prosecutor might also recommend that the defendant remain in custody until trial. Regardless of the prosecutor’s recommendation, the judge will review the case to determine whether the defendant is a candidate for pretrial release.

Pretrial Interview

Before the bond hearing, the Department of Pretrial Services will interview the defendant and recommend whether the judge should release or detain the defendant. The report will describe the defendant’s history and characteristics, including their ties to the community, financial situation, criminal history, employment history, and other pertinent factors. The assessment will also include specific recommendations about the conditions of release.

Bond Hearing

At the bond hearing, the judge will review the pretrial report and consider recommendations from the prosecutor and defense lawyer. When deciding whether to grant pretrial release, the judge can consider the following:

  • Whether the defendant is a flight risk
  • The potential danger to the community
  • The nature and circumstances of the crime the defendant is accused of
  • The weight of the evidence against the defendant

The judge can also consider the defendant’s criminal history, prior failures to appear in court, and whether the defendant was on probation or parole when they allegedly committed the new offense. The judge will also assess the defendant’s family ties, ties to the community, any history or drug or alcohol abuse, and whether the defendant is currently employed or attending school.

Conditions of Pretrial Release

A federal judge has considerable discretion when deciding whether to grant or deny a request for pretrial release. In general, there is a rebuttable presumption that pretrial release should not be granted in cases where the defendant is accused of committing a crime punishable by more than ten years in prison or if the defendant is accused of committing an act of terrorism, trafficking in humans, or a crime against a minor.

The judge can deny a request for bail on federal charges if they find a defendant’s personal recognizance will not reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance or if they find the defendant’s pretrial release will endanger the safety of any other person or the community. If a judge determines that conditional release is appropriate, the judge can set any conditions of release they deem reasonably necessary.

Common conditions of pretrial release include:

  • Wearing a GPS monitoring device
  • Attending court-ordered mental evaluations or treatment
  • Attending court-ordered drug or alcohol therapy
  • Surrendering the defendant’s passport or a promise not to travel to restricted areas
  • Requiring that the defendant not associate with certain people, particularly co-defendants
  • Maintain gainful employment

If the judge decides to grant pretrial release, they can impose conditions of bail. In some instances, the defendant will be released on their own recognizance or an unsecured bond. In others, the judge will set a bail amount. Bail is an amount of money a defendant must pay to be released from custody. If the judge decides to set bail, they will evaluate the defendant’s situation to determine the bail amount.

Contact the Law Offices of Hope C. Lefeber for Help with Bail in Federal Court

If you were charged with a federal crime and are in federal custody awaiting trial, pretrial release is likely at the forefront of your mind. To improve your chances of being granted pretrial release, you should work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the federal pretrial release program.

Hope Lefeber has defended people accused of crimes in federal court for over 30 years. She has a comprehensive understanding of the federal pretrial release process and will give you the best chance of being released from federal custody while you await your trial. To put Ms. Lefeber’s expertise to work for you, contact the Law Office of Hope C. Lefeber today.

Categories: Federal Law