When you are arrested on criminal charges in Georgia, you are entitled to a bail bond hearing. The judge will determine if a bond is necessary and the amount you must post. The bond hearing typically takes place immediately following your arrest. During the hearing, you will be read the official charges against you, and the judge will evaluate the need for a bond based on a variety of factors. Once you post bond, you will be released and must return for your upcoming court hearing dates. It is crucial to have your attorney present at the hearing to represent you and assist with your bond.
Different Types of Bonds
The purpose of a bond is to allow a defendant to be out of jail until the case is resolved. The court does not want to risk the possibility that you will not return for your hearing. Therefore, the bond must be set appropriately and fairly based on your circumstances. Some of the most common bonds that a judge may order include:
- Release on Own Recognizance: This is the best outcome of a bond hearing because you won’t need to post any money. You must promise to return to court for your hearing date and adhere to any conditions the judge requires.
- Unsecured Bond: An unsecured bond is similar to a ROR. You will be released as long as you promise to appear at your court hearings. If you fail to appear, you must pay a fine imposed by the court.
- Surety Bond: A professional bail bondsman will post a surety bond on your behalf. The bail bondsman will post the required bail to ensure that you will appear at your hearings. Generally, you will pay about 12 percent to the bondsman. If you fail to appear, you will owe the entire amount to the bail bondsman.
- Property Bond: You may put up property as your bond. If you fail to appear, the court will be able to seize property in the amount that you owe.
In some cases, the judge may find that you are ineligible for bond. You could be denied bond due to the type of crime or to other factors such as your prior criminal record. If you are denied bail, you can appeal the decision.
Getting Your Bail Reduced in Georgia
A bond you deem to be unreasonable can be lowered upon request. An experienced criminal defense attorney will represent you in the matter and can either request bail reduction at your hearing or petition the court if the bond was already set. Your attorney will provide information to the court to show that you are not a flight risk and that you are not a danger to the community. Some of the factors the judge may consider when lowering bond are your ties to the community, your mental history, the nature and seriousness of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the crime, your employment history, and the source of your bail money.