Conditional Release: Understanding Criminal Bail Rules

Being arrested is a very serious thing and jail is an extremely uncomfortable place. These are indisputable facts that anyone experiencing an arrest already knows. However, you can, in most cases, be freed from jail in certain situations. Read on to find out how you can get out of jail and more importantly, how to remain out of jail.

Getting Free from Jail

What happens after an arrest depends on several factors:

  • The seriousness of the offense.
  • The criminal record of the offender.
  • The personal characteristics of the offender.

For example, if the offense is a misdemeanor, the offender has little to no criminal record, and they have strong ties to the community, family, and employer, etc. they could be released without having to pay bail (own recognizance). They might also be offered bail. Whether it's an own recognizance release or using bail, defendants must obey certain rules, or they could end up back in jail again. These may be known as conditions. Bail conditions depend on several factors and each case can be unique. Those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) may have different bail conditions than those arrested for domestic violence. Here are a few common rules that defendants must follow once they are released from jail.

Court appearances – The most important condition is that of returning for all court appearances. In most cases, defendants will be ordered to return for a hearing in a matter of weeks and this appearance is not optional. Failure to appear (FTA) could prompt the judge to issue a bench warrant for the immediate arrest and incarceration of anyone failing to appear as ordered. By the way, FTA is an additional offense that is added to previous offenses.

Behave – This catch-all term means defendants should keep a low profile while out on bail. Don't associate with known criminals or disobey curfews or other laws. Also, defendants might be ordered to not go near any alleged victims or witnesses associated with the case.

Keep in touch – Some defendants must phone a court official once a week to maintain contact with the courts. That is mainly due to court dates being put off for months at a time due to overcrowded calendars, COVID19, and more.

Stay local – Most bail conditions will order the defendant to remain in the state until their case is resolved. If you must travel, speak to your criminal defense attorney about gaining permission before you take off. In most cases, travel outside of the US while out of bail is out of the question.

Other common conditions involve carrying weapons and not being arrested again for any reason. You will need a criminal defense lawyer to help you with your case. Make it a priority to get support to avoid the worst possible punishment and speak to a lawyer today.