Criminal Law

What is a bond in a criminal case?

A bond in a criminal case is an assurance a defendant gives the state promising to come to court when instructed. Most times, the state requires more than just the defendant’s promise to come to court. When no money is required to back up the promise to come to court, the bond is called a personal recognizance bond (or a “PR” bond). If money is required by the state to back up the promise to come to court, it is called a surety bond.

All defendants are entitled to a bond. Bonds are set by magistrates most times, but in most serious cases, bonds are set by circuit court judges. Just because a defendant is entitled to a bond, does not mean everyone gets out of jail. For a serious charge, the judge may set the bond so high that the defendant can’t come up with enough money to get out of jail, and he must then wait in jail until his case is settled.

If the defendant does have to post money to get out of jail, the money is returned to him after the case is settled and he has not missed a court date. If the defendant misses a court date, the money for the bond can be forfeited and the defendant returned to jail. If anyone has questions about a bond, feel free to call my office or email me.

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