A legal philosophy built on honesty

The Law Library – “Bond Reviews”

Published in Criminal Law on October 2, 2015.

We will be occasionally posting about common misconceptions that run rampant through local county jail.  Every criminal defense lawyer likes to have a client who is informed and engaged in their defense.  Unfortunately, due to many rumors and a lot of relayed bad advice the statement “I have been to the law library” has come to signal to criminal defense attorneys that they are going to have to dispel something their client mistakenly has been informed or believes to be absolutely true.

“I get three bond reviews.  File it again.”

I am not sure where the magic number of three comes from.  Many inmates have heard that they get three bond reviews, three plea offers and three continuances.  Today we are going to focus on the bond reviews.  This is simply not true.  Your bond is also not required to be lowered.  It is also not meant to simply be set at a level that someone can afford.  In Indiana a bond is meant to be set at a level that ensures your return to court and to protect citizens from the accused.  Many times a judge will not trust that a defendant will return to court or that someone may be in danger if the defendant is released from jail.  A bond is intended to make sure the defendant comes back and will follow the restrictions put in place by the courts.  If the court does not think the charge and the defendant need any extra incentive to follow the rules they may release the person on their own recognizance.  This is typically being called OR’d.  If the accused is not OR’d they will typically have a bond put in place for their release.  A reason someone may not have a bond is if they are charged with murder, on probation, on parole or who have a hold from another jurisdiction.

In Indiana a bond can take several forms, each with their own benefits.  Different courts use different types of bonds.

  • CASH BONDS are when a judicial officer requires the defendant to post the amount of bond in whole. Cash bonds are paid to the county and are one of the types of bond that can be refunded after the case depending on the outcome.  If the terms of bond are violated the money can be taken by the state.   The ability to use these bond to pay attorney fees, court costs and fines if convicted and to be refunded are all a huge benefit to cash bonds.  Unfortunately these bonds are many times not affordable to many families.
  • SURETY BONDS are commonly ordered by judges. “SR” bonds require that a bondsman post the bond. Typically a bondsman will require 10% of the bond amount to paid to them.  They may ask for other security depending on the circumstances.  Only having to pay 10% is a benefit to many families but that money will not be returned to the family.  In theory if a defendant does not return to court the Bondsman could be required to go find defendant or lose the money they put for their bond.
  • PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE BOND is typically called a “PR” bond. These are less common throughout Indiana.  These bonds require that 10% of the bond be paid to the county clerk.  These bonds basically put friends or families in the place of the bondsman.  These bonds are also able to be returned or used for costs, fees and fines.
  • XR/XC BONDS are split bonds that require partial payment to the bondsman and partial payment to the county. It is basically two smaller bonds.

If an individual is not OR’d and can’t pay their current bond, a bond review may be a good idea.  To have a bond review most courts require the defendant’s attorney file a motion requesting a hearing regarding why the bond should be changed.  A person’s bond can be lowered or raised at this hearing based on the circumstances.  There are many times that asking for a bond review is simply a really bad idea.  Typically a judge will not hear a second bond review unless there is a substantial change in circumstances.  It is important that your attorney knows your situation before filing for a bond review, it could back fire and make your situation much worse than it already is.

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