Georgia Arrest Bond Information

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.

Georgia Criminal Law – Types of Bail Bonds

In Georgia criminal cases you are allowed to get a bond in order to be released from custody. Getting a bond is essentially assuring that you will attend all the mandatory court appearances with an amount of money that the Judge sets for you. A Judge will determine your eligibility of bond with factors such as past criminal history, risk of fleeing, employment history, and whether the defendant has close ties in the community – also referred to as Ayala Factors.

In Georgia, there are 4 types of bond that you can get set:

  • Signature
  • Property
  • Cash
  • Surety

A signature bond is often granted to defendants if their charge is minor or if it is their first time committing a crime. This type of bond typically does not require the defendant to pay any kind of money, and the defendant is allowed to go free as long as they sign a document promising to show up to all of their mandatory court appearances.  In Fulton County, the t majority of bonds we acquire for our clients on non-murder or domestic violence cases are signature bonds.  The key to a signature bond in Fulton County is to be cooperative and compliant with a Fulton County pretrial release officer.

A property bond requires the defendant to use their property such as the title to your car or real estate as collateral instead of paying the bond with money. Typically, the value of the property should be about twice as high as the bail amount the Judge set in order for it to be accepted as collateral. This type of bond can be complicated because you need an appraiser to calculate the value of the property.  In Fulton, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Cobb Counties you can use more than one property as long as the properties are located in Georgia.

A cash bond is often set for defendants who are deemed as “high-risk”. This type of bond does not allow for you to use a bail agent, and you must pay the entire amount that the Judge sets in cash. If you pay the bail amount and do not show up to your court date, the money will be forfeited to the court. Most counties have a 10 percent option but you must ask the judge setting the bond to include the 10 percent bond language in the order.

Lastly, a surety bond is a bond that you can use a bail agent/bail bondsman for the amount that the judge sets. In this case, the bail agent/bail bondsmen company will agree to pay the bail money and charge the defendant with a fee, which is typically about 10 percent of the bail amount the judge sets.