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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.

Bond Revocation Hearings in Georgia Criminal Cases

Bond is a constant balancing act between protecting society from alleged wrongdoers and preventing excessive incarceration before having one’s guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The main purpose of bond is to ensure that the accused returns to court.

However, judges frequently include special conditions in a bond order. Sometimes, the defendant is ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victim or any co-defendants in his or her case. Sometimes, there are curfews and/or restrictions on places that the defendant can visit. If the defendant is alleged to have violated a special condition, then the prosecutor will seek to revoke the defendant’s bond. If this happens, the defendant is afforded minimal protections. The rules of evidence do not apply in a bond revocation hearing so hearsay is admissible, and the standard of proof is only by a preponderance of evidence. With that said, these hearings can be valuable in assessing the credibility of the alleged victim. If you can catch the alleged victim in a lie at the bond revocation hearing, then you can use that dishonesty to attack their credibility at trial, or a reasonable prosecutor may be willing to negotiate a reduction in the charges or a complete dismissal.

Are you entitled to Bond in the State of Georgia in Criminal Cases?

The court is authorized but not required to grant a bond in most cases. The court may deny bond or grant a very high bond for more serious offenses, especially with repeat offenders. When deciding whether to grant a bond as well as to what amount, the court considers the following:

Does the person pose a significant threat of fleeing or failing to appear in court?

Does the person pose a significant danger to any person, the community or property?

Does the person pose a significant risk of committing a felony pending trial?

Does the person pose a significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice?

Hiring an attorney shows that the defendant is committed to showing up to defend against the charges. If you have an active warrant for your arrest, then we can help streamline the turn in process and ensure that there is a bond for the charges so as to prevent excessive incarceration. If your loved one has been denied a bond, then contact us at 404-581-0999 to discuss how we can assist in bringing them back home.

How do I get a bond?

If you or a loved one has recently been arrested, the first thing on your mind is getting out of jail.  Unfortunately, the process of bonding out is more complicated than expected.  So, what do you need to know to get out of jail as quickly as possible?

1)      Will I get a bond?  If so, when?

In Georgia, the rules are organized according to whether the arrest offense is a felony or a misdemeanor.  If it is a misdemeanor, then you are entitled to a bond by law.  If the charge is a felony, then it is in the judge’s discretion whether to grant bail.  There are certain serious offenses for which only a superior court judge can grant bail.  In that case, the superior court will be notified of your arrest within 48 hours.  The superior court is then required to set a bond hearing within 30 days after receiving the notice.  However, if you file a petition for a bond, then the hearing must be held within 10 days after receiving the petition.

2)      What does the court consider when determining whether to grant bond and when determining high the bond should be? 

Judges consider four factors when determining whether to grant bond, and when determining how much the bond should be: (1) Are you a risk to run away and not come back to court?; (2) Do you pose a threat or danger to people or property in the local community?; (3) Is it likely that you will commit a felony before your case is resolved?; and (4) Are you likely to intimidate witnesses against you?

3)      Once I get a bond, what are my options for covering the amount? 

Cash bond – This requires you to put up the entire bond amount in cash or by money order.  Most people cannot afford the entire amount, and that is where bondsmen come in.  As long as you are able to pay 13-15% of the bond, then a bondsman will put up the money for you and require that you pay a fee.

*The money that you pay to bond out will be refunded at the close of the case as long as it is not forfeited by your failure to appear in court.  The fee to the bonding company will not be refunded. 

Property bond – You may be able to put up real property (house or land) as a way to guarantee your appearance in court.  Generally, you must have enough equity in the home or property to cover the amount of the bond.  In some places, you have to have twice the amount of the bond in equity.  Most bondsmen will still help you bond out of jail, and they may accept more than just real property.  For example, some will allow you to put up the title to your car as a guarantee that you will return to court.  Remember, if you use property to bond out and you fail to appear in court, then you are at risk of losing that property!

If you or a loved one have recently been arrested and want help bonding out, do not hesitate to contact us at 404-581-0999. You can trust that our firm will do everything possible to get you or your loved one out of jail and to make the process as simple and painless as possible.