Bond and Pre-Trial Release for DUIs in Virginia 

Following a DUI arrest, you may feel overwhelmed and upset. You may wonder what will happen next. Questions about bond and pre-trial release for DUIs in Virginia often come up following an arrest. If you want to know more about bonds, pre-trial release, and what they have to do with your DUI case, speak with a qualified DUI lawyer today. A knowledgeable DUI attorney can help guide you through the DUI pre-trial and trial process.

Explaining Bond

Bond and pre-trial release for DUIs in Virginia are vital elements of a person’s release, following a DUI arrest. When a person is arrested for any crime, whether it is DUI or anything else, the first step is they are taken before a magistrate. The magistrate will gather pertinent information about that person, such as their employment, residence, criminal history, and the facts surrounding the charge that brought them there on that day.

The magistrate will weigh the given factors and determine whether or not the person is a good candidate to be released from jail or be held in jail while their trial is pending. This process is referred to as a bond hearing. The magistrate will determine if there is a certain amount of money that can secure the defendant’s appearance in court and will ensure future public safety. Once the accused is released from police custody, they will receive all of their court paperwork, the warrants against them, and their release paperwork from jail.

How Can Bond Be Posted in Virginia

There are three different ways a bond can be posted in Virginia. The person can be given an unsecured bond, which means that person promises to pay the government a certain amount of money if they fail to appear in court. No money changes hands on that day and no money will ever change hands as long as the person shows up for their court date. If the magistrate decides that money does need to change hands to secure a person’s appearance, they will set a secured bond, which is sometimes referred to as a cash or corporate surety bond. That presents two different options for the defendant to get out of jail. The first is to post the cash amount of that bond up front. For example, if it is a $5,000 bond, the person has to pay $5,000 if they are out of jail. If they do not have $5,000, but less than that, a person can hire a bondsman to provide a corporate surety. A bondsman will pay the bond for that person in exchange for that individual paying that bondsman a 10% fee.

Determining Bond Amount

Bond is determined by the magistrate who reviews employment, where they live, how long they lived there, general ties to the community, previous criminal history, and whatever the officer has to say about the charges that brought them there. The magistrate will consider the likelihood of the individual’s appearance at trial, meaning do they think that person is going to show up on their court date.

To determine whether or not they are likely to appear or conversely will be easy to find if they do not, the magistrate wants to know where they work, where they live, and how long they worked and lived in those places. This will help them determine whether this individual is a risk to society. 

If it is a local person who has a local residence and a local job, it is going to increase the likelihood that they are going to get a bond that is going to be low. If a person has concerns about the risk to the community, the magistrate is going to look at their previous criminal history and what they were charged with. If there is a previous criminal history or the charge against them is particularly severe, it decreases the likelihood that they are going to get reasonable bond.

What is Pre-Trial Release?

If a person is granted bond, sometimes the condition of that bond is that they enter into a pretrial release program. That means they are being monitored by a probation officer while their case is pending. Generally, that is going to require them to make weekly appearances in front of that probation officer. Sometimes there will be drug testing involved. Sometimes a probation officer will require them to enter into some kind of classes for treatment for substance abuse or alcohol abuse. All of those things are in play.

A lawyer can help a person get out of jail by offering to have that person be placed on pretrial release. This is usually a good tactic if the court is particularly concerned about the person’s substance abuse or alcohol abuse continuing while they are out on bond, thereby placing both themselves and the community at large at risk. Pre-trial release can be a useful tool to help a person get out if the lawyer reads the court correctly and understands the court has some issues letting the person out on bond without being supervised.

If a person does not comply with bond and pre-trial release for DUIs in Virginia, and that person does not have a good reason for failing to comply, the person will face the possibility of having their bond revoked. That means that they will be put back in jail and will stay in jail until their trial has completed.

Importance of Contacting a Lawyer

Attorneys always tell clients to seek legal help as soon as possible. The reason for that is because there is a lot of work that goes into defending DUI cases. The more time a lawyer has to start working, the better it will be for your case. If you hire a DUI lawyer a couple of weeks before your trial date, it is going to be very difficult for lawyers to get everything that they need to get prior to that court date. The sooner the better is always true when it comes to DUI cases. The post-arrest and trial process move fast, and it is important to work quickly when it comes to your bond and pre-trial release for DUIs in Virginia. Your freedom is at stake and a qualified attorney can protect that freedom.