Bailing out of jail can be a frustrating experience and charges that carry a significant bond amount can leave a defendant in jail pending the slow pace of the court system. Finding a bonding agency can be a relatively simple process, but finding an experienced and effective lawyer is more complicated. Many times the case depends on the skill of the attorney, including the ability to negotiate a bond reduction. Each court system has a standard policy for setting bond and are not required to meet the state minimums. Bond is normally “stacked” according to the number and severity of the criminal charges. It is much more important to find a lawyer before application for bonding out of jail.
Functions of a Bondsman
A jail bonding agency basically serves one function. They negotiate a defendant’s release financially. Bonding agencies are registered with the court and do not hold the power to petition the court on the defendant’s behalf. That is the function of legal counsel. Bond is set by the court and the bondsman sets parameters for a possible release. Extreme bond amounts will always include a promissory note from the defendant or a third party and the agreement is completed when the defendant appears in court on the charge that has required incarceration. The bondsman can maintain the bond release until the case is fully adjudicated, but also can withdraw from a bond agreement for acceptable reasons.
Functions of an Attorney
An attorney can petition the court for action on the behalf of any defendant. They are your legal representative. The first function of an attorney is discussing the bond amount with the court. Bonding agents have no impact. The defendant merely qualifies financially. The actual legal representative can begin to build a defense case immediately with discussion of bond and the possibility of reduction. Local attorneys often are more effective if they are familiar with the judge and court officials. They also understand local court policy for particular charges and can possibly negotiate a reduction. A bond reduction hearing can also influence the court to negotiate a plea agreement if the attorney is a competent and recognized trial attorney.
When possible, it is important for any defendant to hire an attorney before entering in an agreement with any bonding agency. Attorneys are bound by professional oath and can represent the defendant fully in any legal proceeding. Bondsmen can only function in a release situation and have no professional legal representative authority. Bondsmen are not officers of the court, as are licensed attorneys. Always retain a lawyer first. It can actually help with securing a notable bonding agency as the next logical step.
Article provided by the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor. An AV rated law firm in downtown Phoenix, AZ. David and his team handle criminal defense of drug crimes, DUI arrests, Sex Crimes, and many other criminal matters.