How Do I Get Bonded Out For A Criminal Case

In State Courts in Michigan when you receive a ticket for a criminal case, are notified that you have a warrant for a criminal charge, or are placed under arrest and taken into custody, the manner in which a bond is obtained may be different.  The factors that a Judge or Magistrate considers in Michigan when setting a bond are the same for misdemeanor and felony cases.  Generally, a Court will set conditions of pretrial release or detention that addresses two issues: the particular Defendant’s potential to not appear in Court and threat to the public safety.  It is supposed to be the least restrictive manner necessary to accomplish these two issues.  There are a number of factors that the Court considers that are contained in Michigan Court Rule 6.106.

Bond can be set as a personal bond, in a monetary amount (cash, surety, or 10%), or denied (for murder, treason, or some violent felonies depending upon the circumstances).  Bond can also be denied (or cannot be posted, or release will not be allowed) if the Defendant is on parole or has an Immigration Detainer.    If bond is allowed or can otherwise be posted, but the monetary amount is too high for the Defendant to post, he or she can try and make arrangements with a bail bondsman.  A Judge is free to place conditions on the bond such as drug/alcohol testing, tether, monitoring, curfews, travel restrictions, no contact provisions, etc.  Likewise, a bail bondsman may require a tether or monitoring as a condition of posting the bond on behalf of the Defendant.  A violation of bond conditions, or of the agreement the Defendant has with the bail bondsman, can lead to incarceration.  If bond cannot be posted, the Defendant will remain in custody.

For cash or 10% bonds that a Defendant can post, cash is always accepted.  Most Courts also allow for credit/debit card payment (with a service fee), money orders, and cashier’s check.  It is always a good idea to check with the Court or jail in advance so you or your family are prepared.

For persons that are not United States citizens, it is often critical to have a lawyer for any criminal charge.  For some aliens, going into custody for any period of time may trigger ICE detention depending upon the situation.  A lawyer may help you avoid going into custody by addressing your bond with the Judge or magistrate, or provide you with the necessary information to immediately post bond at the courthouse before a hold from ICE occurs.

How to Address My Outstanding Warrant?

Ticket Cases.  A ticket for a misdemeanor will have instructions listed on it to contact the court to schedule an arraignment.  If the Defendant is not represented by counsel, he or she should follow any directions on the ticket to be arraigned on the charge.  At arraignment, the Defendant will be advised of the charge or charges, the maximum allowable punishment, enter a plea, and set bond (or in some cases sentence the Defendant if he or she pleads guilty at arraignment).  If the Defendant has a lawyer, some Courts will allow the arraignment to be waived.  If arraignment is waived, the Court will provide the attorney and/or the Defendant with notice of a pretrial date.  It is advisable to hire a lawyer for any criminal case at the earliest possible moment.  Although a Defendant can request a public defender, one will not be provided for arraignment in most cases.

Warrant for Arrest.  If a Defendant becomes aware of a warrant for arrest he or she should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.  The lawyer will waive arraignment (if possible) or appear with the Defendant to be arraigned and address bond.  The lawyer is permitted to address the amount and conditions of bond, which can have an impact in the decision of the Judge or magistrate.  Sometimes the Defendant is notified by a letter, a telephone call, or simply hears it through other people that there is an arrest warrant.  In some cases the Defendant does not know about the warrant until he or she is arrested by a police officer.  The chances of getting a reasonable bond are always higher if the Defendant turns himself in with a lawyer, because it provides evidence that the Defendant is not a flight risk.  If a Defendant is arrested on a warrant, it is possible that he or she will remain in custody for several days before he or she can appear in front of a Judge or magistrate to address bond.  If the Defendant does not have a lawyer, he or she should contact the Court with jurisdiction of the criminal case to find out the procedure to address the bench warrant.

Placed Under Arrest.  In few cases, the police are allowed to set an interim bond and provide the Defendant with a court date.  In many cases, if you are arrested you remain in custody until at least an arraignment occurs in front of a Judge or magistrate.  If you are arrested, your first call should be to a lawyer.  You should never discuss the facts of your case with anyone but your lawyer and only when you are in a private location.  A lawyer can appear at your arraignment to argue on your behalf to obtain a reasonable, affordable bond.

If you hire a lawyer after bond is set, the lawyer will usually have the ability to argue bond on your behalf if you are eligible to receive a bond.  For any criminal case, it is highly recommended that you retain Attorney Daniel Hilf of Hilf & Hilf, PLC.