What to Do When Your Bond Is Denied or Revoked in Georgia
Under Georgia law, you have the right to a first appearance within 72 hours of being arrested with a warrant or within 48 hours of being arrested without a warrant. At first appearance, the magistrate is supposed to consider bond unless the offense of one that only a superior court judge set bond in. If the magistrate declines to set bond, or the offense is only bondable by a superior court judge, your attorney must motion the superior court to set bond.
This bond hearing is a vital part of the criminal justice process, allowing you to remain free from jail while you await trial. This can mean the difference between losing your job, losing your home, losing your car and destroying your credit.
At The Busbee Law Group, we make sure your interests and rights are front and center at your bond hearing. Because of this, we’ve established a strong record of protecting clients and even getting bond reinstated if it has been revoked by a judge.
Rather than risk spending weeks or even months in jail while you await trial, it’s important to secure the best legal representation possible to get out quickly. It’s equally important that you be armed with the facts, so read on to learn more about the bond hearing process.
Types of Bond Hearings in Georgia
- First Appearance: Also known as an arraignment or an “initial appearance,” this is the hearing that is legally held within 72 or 48 hours of the arrest, depending on whether law enforcement had an arrest warrant or not. At this hearing, the magistrate will verify that probable cause exists to hold the defendant in custody and can set the monetary amount of the bond.
- Bond Hearing: If a bond is not set by the magistrate at the first appearance, a defendant can file a motion for the superior court judge to set a bond. Here, the defense attorney and prosecutor argue whether or not the court should release the defendant on bond pending trial.
- Revocation Hearing: If a defendant violates the terms of their initial release on bond, they can be called back for a bond revocation hearing. At this time, the judge will determine whether the defendant should remain free on bond or be returned to custody.
What Reasons Can a Judge Use to Deny Bond?
As determined by the judge or magistrate, bond will be set as either a court-mandated amount of money or property. Often, a third party (e.g. bonding company) posts bond on their behalf.
Sometimes, however, a defendant may be denied bond. There are several situations that could lead to this, including:
- Defendant poses a flight risk: If the judge or magistrate believes the defendant may attempt to flee to another jurisdiction before trial, they can deny bond and keep them until trial.
- Defendant is likely to commit another felony if released: If the judge believes that he or she will likely commit another crime if released, the judge can deny bond. This happens frequently when a person was already out on bond for another case when he is arrested in a new case.
- Defendant is a danger to the community: Bond can be denied if the Court believes the defendant poses a danger to the safety of the community.
- Defendant is likely to intimidate witnesses: If the court believes the defendant will interfere with his case by frightening witnesses into changing their testimony or refusing to testify, it may deny bond.
- Defendant is on probation or parole: If the defendant is already being supervised on probation or parole, Georgia’s Division of Community Supervision will likely place a “hold” on the defendant while attempting to revoke probation or parole. The court may still grant a bond, but the defendant will not be released.
What About Serious Felony Cases?
For misdemeanor and most felony charges, the magistrate in the county in which the crime occurred can set bond. In more serious felony cases, which cover crimes including treason, aggravated child molestation, murder, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking, magistrates legally do not have the authority to release the defendant even if they were so inclined.
Instead, with more severe charges, the defendant’s attorney must request a bond hearing before a superior court judge. Once the Superior Court receives the motion for a hearing, they will generally schedule one on the next available court date. As with any other bond hearing, this will allow both the defense and prosecution a chance to present evidence and argue their case.
What if Bond Is Revoked?
Even if a bond has been issued by a judge or magistrate, prosecution can still file a motion with the court to revoke it. At this hearing, the State of Georgia will present evidence as to why the bond should be revoked and the defendant should be returned to custody. Some reasons why prosecution might pursue this include if the defendant failed to appear in court when called, if they receive a new charge or if they violated any conditions of their release. For example, testing positive for drugs or alcohol.
Just as at any bond hearing, the defendant’s attorney will also be allowed to present evidence and argue against the bond revocation. It is ultimately at the judge’s discretion whether or not the defendant is allowed to remain free on bond while they await trial.
Helping the judge reach that decision is what we do best. Our attorneys have proven themselves time and time again to be tireless fighters for their clients, helping them obtain bonds and challenge revoked bonds to secure their freedom. If you need a bond, have been denied a bond, or a bond hearing is scheduled to be revoked, Schule a free case evaluation with the Busbee Law Group.