In Georgia, every person arrested on criminal charges is entitled to a bail bond hearing to determine if the judge will set bond on their case. A bond is essentially collateral, which secures a promise, once released from custody, to appear in court for future court dates. There are many different forms of bonds that a judge can grant. Some include, but are not limited to, signature bonds, surety bonds, cash bonds, or property bonds.
If a person is arrested in the state of Georgia and taken into custody, he/she must be brought before a magistrate judge within 72 hours of arrest. The purpose of this appearance is to discuss the issue of bond. The judge must consider whether the accused is a flight risk; a threat to themselves or the community; has the potential to commit other crimes while their case is pending; as well as the possibility the accused, if released, will intimate any potential witnesses. Other factors that the judge may consider in granting or denying bond include, but are not limited to:
- Nature of the crime allegedly committed;
- Circumstances surrounding the alleged crime;
- Weight of the evidence against the accused;
- Past criminal history of the accused;
- Community ties;
- Family ties;
- Mental history of the accused;
- History of failing to appear;
- Source of bail funds
The judge does have discretion to deny bond for an accused if they find it necessary to do so in order to protect the community, the victim, or to ensure that the accused appears at his/her future court dates. If the accused is denied bond, this means that he/she will not be released and must be confined during the pendency of their case or while awaiting trial. However, a person who has been denied bond or who otherwise would like to have their bond amount reduced does have options in the meantime. The accused may file for a reconsideration of bond, or in some cases where bond was denied, the accused may request a preliminary hearing, which will determine whether there was (1) probable cause to arrest the accused and (2) to revisit the issue of bond. This allows a second chance for the accused to argue that he/she should be released pending the disposition of their case.
Due to the complexity of bond hearings, as well as the possibility that the accused will spend months in custody pending trial, it is of vital importance to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney who understands the factors the judge is considering when determining bond, has vast experience with such hearings, and tirelessly advocates for their clients and their constitutional rights. Here, at the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, we do just that. Therefore, if you are under investigation and are potentially facing a future arrest for which bond may be necessary, or a loved one is currently in custody on a pending criminal charge, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.