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Understanding Bond/Bail

If you’re arrested and charged with a crime, a judge will typically, but not always, assign a bond (sometimes referred to as “bail”) that, if paid, will allow you to get out of jail pending the disposition of your case. Bonds come in many different shapes and amounts, but their purpose is the same: to ensure that you show up for all your court dates until the disposition, either by plea or trial, of your case.

At Harper and Harper, LLC, we understand our northwest Indiana clients often have questions about bond or bail, and we are here to provide them with the information they are seeking. At our Valparaiso office, we can help you with all aspects of your criminal defense needs, including bond or bail issues.

Your Bond Must Be A Reasonable Value

The Indiana Supreme Court has held that bonds must be reasonable. If a bond amount is unreasonably high, it may be seen as overstepping the intended purpose of ensuring your attendance at court.

Sometimes, a seemingly outrageously high bond can be justified in the name of safety. That is, a person is arrested and assigned a very high bond amount if the court deems the individual to be a danger to the public or a member of the public.

Criminal Rule 26 is a new Indiana Supreme Court Rule that has taken effect in Indiana. Criminal Rule 26 states that an assessment must be done on every newly arrested inmate to determine whether that person should be let out on bond.

Under Criminal Rule 26, all inmates must be released on bond or their own recognizance unless they present a risk of flight or danger to themselves or others. As part of the new rule, probation offices around the state must conduct an evidence-based risk assessment to make these determinations.

In Indiana, you may ask the court to review the previously set bond amount, but this request also comes with risks. When you ask the court to review your bond, there’s nothing in the rules that prevents the judge from deciding your bond amount should be increased.

Some of the factors a judge will consider when setting or reviewing bond:

  • The length and character of your residence in the community
  • Your employment status/history and ability to pay bail
  • Your family ties and relationships
  • Your character, reputation, habits and mental condition
  • Your criminal or juvenile record, insofar as it demonstrates instability and a disdain for the court’s authority to bring you to trial

How Murder Or Treason Charges Can Affect Things

The Indiana Constitution treats murder and treason differently from other crimes, and it’s not uncommon for someone charged with murder to be held without bond. In cases of murder and treason, pretrial release is still possible, but the judge is also allowed to deny bail entirely.

From The State Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rule 26. Pretrial Release

(A) If an arrestee does not present a substantial risk of flight or danger to self or others, the court should release the arrestee without money bail or surety subject to such restrictions and conditions as determined by the court except when:

  1. The arrestee is charged with murder or treason.
  2. The arrestee is on pre-trial release not related to the incident that is the basis for the present arrest.
  3. The arrestee is on probation, parole or other community supervision.

(B)  In determining whether an arrestee presents a substantial risk of flight or danger to self or other persons or to the public, the court should utilize the results of an evidence-based risk assessment approved by the Indiana Office of Court Services, and such other information as the court finds relevant. The court is not required to administer an assessment prior to releasing an arrestee if administering the assessment will delay the arrestee’s release.

(C)  If the court determines that an arrestee is to be held subject to money bail, the court is authorized to determine the amount of such bail and whether such bail may be satisfied by surety bond and/or cash deposit. The court may set and accept a partial cash payment of the bail upon such conditions as the court may establish including the arrestee’s agreement that all court costs, fees, and expenses associated with the proceeding shall be paid from said partial payment.  If the court authorizes the acceptance of a cash partial payment to satisfy bail, the court shall first secure the arrestee’s agreement that, in the event of failure to appear as scheduled, the arrestee shall forfeit the deposit and must also pay such additional amounts as to satisfy the full amount of bail plus associated court costs, fees, and expenses.

(D)  Statements by Arrestee

  1. Prohibited Uses: Evidence of an arrestee’s statements and evidence derived from those statements made for use in preparing an authorized evidence-based risk assessment tool are not admissible against the arrestee in any civil or criminal proceeding.
  2. Exceptions: The court may admit such statements:
    (a) In a pretrial proceeding involving the arrestee; or
    (b) In any proceeding in which another statement made in preparing an authorized evidence-based risk assessment tool has been introduced, if in fairness the statements ought to be considered together.
  3. No statements made for these purposes may be used in any other court except in a pretrial proceeding.

This rule in its entirety, became effective September 7, 2016, in the pretrial pilot courts and in courts using an approved evidence based risk assessment under Section B.

Sections C. and D. became effective September 7, 2016, in all courts.

Sections A. and B. will be effective in all courts January 1, 2020.

Answering Your Questions

We want you to have the information you need in these situations, so we have answered some of the most common questions we get here:

Can I Leave The State Or Country If On Bond?

Before you cross a border, you will need to gain permission from the court. If a judge has explicitly told you not to leave the state, you will need to gain permission from the court and the bail agent before being able to travel legally. Failing to do so can result in your arrest.

What Can I Post As Collateral For A Bond?

The eligible collateral for a bond depends on the bonding office you are working with, but common examples of collateral include real estate, credit cards, bank accounts, heirlooms, cars and stocks.

Our Team Is Here For You

If you are in or near Porter Country and have more questions about this subject, or you want to meet with a criminal defense attorney you can count on, contact us by calling 219-733-8837 or emailing us here. Reach out to one of our attorneys for your free initial consultation today.