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Initial Court Appearance & Release Conditions

Initial Court Appearance & Release Conditions

At an Arraignment, or the Initial Appearance, a judge verifies information regarding a defendant’s name and address. The judge will inform a defendant of the charges, their Constitutional rights and whether the defendant is being represented by private counsel or a public defender. The judge usually takes into consideration comments offered by the victim, in cases such as Domestic Violence and Assault, in determining the conditions of a defendant’s release. The next time a defendant appears in court after their Initial Appearance, or their Arraignment, is determined by the judge.

A defendant’s release is determined by a few factors, but mainly, the likelihood that a defendant will appear. If a defendant is released on their “Own Recognizance,” a judge releases the defendant based upon their promise to appear at their next court date. A defendant that is released on their “Own Recognizance” usually means that the defendant is not a risk to anyone, has established community ties and that the defendant does not have a past history for failing to appear for their court date.

A defendant released by “Third Party Release” rests in a third party— usually a spouse or one’s parents—promise to bring the defendant to court. In the event that the defendant does not appear, the third party is required to answer to the judge.

A defendant that is released based upon a “Pretrial Services Release” means that a state agency monitors the defendant in an effort to make sure that the defendant is not engaging in illegal activity and that the defendant will appear for their court date. With a “Pretrial Services Release,” a surveillance officer can arrive at any time to monitor alcohol consumption, as an example. At times, defendants are required to wear ankle monitoring devices. However, this form of release is usually reserved to felony cases.

A defendant that is released on “Bond” requires that an amount be paid—as determined by the judge—in an effort to promise to appear. If the defendant does not appear, the money paid is forfeited. In the event that a bail bondsman is called upon, usually ten percent of the bond amount is paid to the bail bondsman while the bail bondsman pays the total amount. The percentage paid to the bail bondsman is the fee amount for the bail bondsman’s assistance. If the defendant does not appear in this instance, a bounty hunter is usually hired to track the defendant down; otherwise, the bail bondsman loses the amount of the bail.

The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor is here to assist you. Once we have been retained as your lawyer, we will attempt a “jail visit” or we will meet with you prior to your court appearance, also to take place at the jail. We will prepare the “Release Questionnaire” prior to your appearance before the judge. Our mission is to have you released as soon as possible. At whichever point within the process you retain us as your criminal lawyer—after your Initial Appearance, after arraignment or prior to the hearing—our goal is to meet with you as quickly as possible and to assist you in your case. We offer free consultations, to schedule one, please call (or email) our office at (602) 737-2812.

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