Anyone who has seen one of the many television shows that deal with the U.S. criminal justice system has probably heard the terms “bail” and “bond” but may have always wondered what those terms meant. If a person has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, these terms refer to money paid by either you or a third party to guarantee your appearance at future court proceedings. However, under Ohio law, the posting of a bail or a bond is not necessarily required by state law in order for a criminal defendant to be released pending further court proceedings. A skilled Ohio criminal defense attorney can often convince a judge at a hearing to waive the requirement to post money as bail or a third party to post money as a bond, ensuring the defendant’s appearance.
The criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates have extensive experience representing Columbus residents at bail hearings and have successfully achieved thousands of releases pending trial for their clients. Therefore, call us at (614) 500-3836 if you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Columbus, Ohio and we will fight hard for you to remain free pending your criminal trial.
The Difference Between Bail and Bond
A person might consider the terms bail and bond to be different ways of saying the same thing, but they are actually two distinct concepts. While they both refer to money paid to ensure the appearance of a defendant at court proceedings, they are differentiated by the source of the funds paid to ensure the accused’s appearance. Money paid by the accused him or herself is referred to as bail and money paid by a third person to guarantee the appearance of the accused at future court proceedings is referred to as a bond.
The Bail Hearing in Ohio
Under the Ohio Constitution, every criminal defendant has the right to bail by the posting of “sufficient surety.” What this means is that every criminal defendant is entitled to a hearing as to whether the person should remain free pending trial in his or her criminal case. Under Section 2937.222 of Ohio’s Revised Code, a judge must consider whether a criminal defendant should be held in jail pending trial in his or her criminal case or should instead be free on conditions.
In accordance with court procedure, at a bail hearing, the criminal defendant has the right to have their attorney present, to testify, to present witnesses and other information and to cross-examine witnesses who may be called by the prosecution. At a bail hearing, the judge’s task is to determine whether there are sufficient conditions which would ensure the criminal defendant’s appearance at future court proceedings. In order to hold the defendant in jail pending trial, the prosecutor has the burden of proving that the presumption is great that the accused committed the offense in question or the accused poses a substantial risk of serious physical harm to any person or to the community and that no release conditions will reasonably assure the safety of that person and the community.
Factors Considered by the Judge
In making a determination as to whether a defendant poses a substantial risk of serious physical harm to any person or to the community and whether there are conditions of release that will reasonably assure the safety of that person and the community, the judge is required to consider factors that include (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is an offense of violence or involves alcohol or a drug of abuse; (2) the weight of the evidence against the accused; (3) the criminal defendant’s character and physical and mental condition; (4) the defendant’s family and community ties and how long he or she has resided in the community; (5) the defendant’s employment status and financial resources; (6) the defendant’s past conduct and criminal history, if any; (7) whether the defendant committed the crime of which he or she is accused when the defendant was on probation or had other criminal charges pending at the time he or she allegedly committed the offense; and (8) the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the person’s release.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Assist in the Bail Process
An experienced criminal defense attorney will appear with you at any bail hearing in your case and will make arguments to the judge as to why the posting of bail or a bond is not necessary to ensure your appearance at further court proceedings. Since a lawyer’s effective advocacy can be crucial to preventing you from scraping together money to post bail or from paying the often exorbitant expenses associated with a bail bondsman, it is very important to hire a skilled Columbus, OH criminal defense attorney to represent you if you have been charged with a crime in Columbus, Ohio.
Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates
We are Columbus criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience and we always fight hard for our clients to be released without being required to post a bail or bond in Columbus of any kind. We understand that people have families, jobs, and other things going on besides simply the criminal case they had the misfortune of being charged with, and we will fight tooth and nail to ensure your freedom while your case is pending. Therefore, call us today at (614) 500-3836 for a free consultation if you have been arrested or charged with a crime to discuss your legal options.