Bail Hearings in Hampshire County & Franklin County
If you or a loved were arrested and placed in a holding cell at the local county jail, you’re probably wondering — how and when can I get out?
After you’ve been booked, you can expect the police to call a clerk magistrate to assess your case and determine whether you should:
- be released on your own personal recognizance or for a small fee of $40, which is your promise to appear in court at a specified future date
- remain in custody and be transported for arraignment/bail hearing where a district court judge will decide if cash bail should be set and for how much
- held without bail and scheduled for a dangerousness hearing
Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski is experienced in all aspects of the bail process in Hampshire County. If you are facing a bail hearing or need assistance posting bail for a loved one, call us today PH: 413.585.9200 (Northampton) 413.549.0022 (Amherst).
What Happens at a Bail Hearing?
Bail is not meant to serve as punishment and a bail hearing does not imply that you are guilty. Rather, the court’s goal at a bail hearing is to set an amount of bail that will insure you will appear at later hearings. If you attend all required court appearances, you will be reimbursed the bail money.
During a bail hearing, the prosecutor will argue why they believe bail is necessary and recommend an amount that they feel is justifiable. For instance, they may seek a high bail if they believe you are a flight risk or pose a threat to the community. The judge will take these and other factors into consideration…
Factors that Influence Bail Amounts:
Nature of the charges — a crime involving violence (rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault) against another person is likely to increase bail amount or disqualify bail altogether
Criminal history — if you have prior criminal convictions on your record or are currently on probation or parole for a separate offense, the prosecutor will seek higher bail.
Ties to the community and community involvement — if you are a long-term resident of the community with a job, friends, and family in the area, you are less likely to be viewed as a flight risk
History of mental illness or substance abuse
Conditions of Release on Bail:
If you are granted a release on your own recognizance or on cash bail, the prosecutor may ask the judge to impose certain conditions that you must obey related to the crime you’ve been accused of committing.
For instance if you’ve been accused of domestic violence, the judge may order you to have no contact with the alleged victim via a restraining order. If you are facing a drug or alcohol charge, you may be required to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.
Additional examples of may include
- periodic check-ins with probation officer or court official
- wearing an electronic monitoring device like an ankle monitor
- being placed under house arrest
Having a criminal defense attorney to represent you at the bail hearing is critical and could be the difference between temporary freedom and remaining in jail.
If bail is set too high for you to pay, Mr. Kokonowski can appeal the decision in a separate judicial proceeding in the Superior Court called a “Bail Review” or Bail Reduction Hearing. He can present evidence and witness testimony to show the judge that there is no reason to believe you will flee or that you in anyway pose a threat to the community at large.
If you or a loved one need an experienced bail hearing attorney in Hampshire County, call Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski today at 413.585.9200 (Northampton) 413.549.0022 (Amherst).