A New System For Deciding Bail is Being Tested in Some Michigan Courts (Pt 2)

Being able to post bail can make a big difference on your future – even more than many people realize

Welcome back and thanks for deciding to join us here for this discussion on the new pilot program for bail in Michigan. Setting bail and setting bond mean the same thing. If you’re just finding this article now, but missed the first one where we explain the interesting new program five Michigan courts are participating in, then we recommend you spend a moment getting caught up here.

Otherwise, if you already know what’s up, let’s get back to the issue of why these changes are being considered.But first, a brief explanation. When a person is arrested in Michigan and charged with a crime, there is normally a presumption that bond should be set to allow the person to remain free pending further court action. There are some exceptions in the law for very serious crimes, for people that are a danger to the community and to repeat offenders. Bond is usually set by a judge or by a magistrate when the person (the defendant) is arraigned.

What issues is the pilot program meant to address?

As we mentioned in the previous article, there are six primary reasons the state is trying out this test program. We already discussed cost to the taxpayers, jail crowding, and getting non-violent offenders out to make space for the violent offenders. But there are other, equally important reasons as well.

  1. Pretrial detainees risk losing employment when they can’t make bail, along with their      housing, and their child care arrangements. This has a direct impact not just on them, but also on their families and loved ones.
  2. Current statistics reveal that pretrial detainees are four times more likely to be sentenced to jail, which means that being able to post bail provides them with a better chance of avoiding incarceration. Also, jailed detainees tend to face longer sentences, so offering them a chance to post bail sooner would mean reduced sentences for many.
  3. Recent data reveals that jailed pretrial defendants are:
  • 25 % more likely to plead guilty than people released on bail;
  • 22 % more likely to show up for scheduled court dates once they’re released; and
  • 17 % more likely to commit new crimes than people released within 24 hours of their arrest.

What factors must Judges consider when deciding on bail

In our new experimental bond setting program, Michigan court judges are required to consider a wide variety of factors when deciding on whether to grant bail, and for how much. Here are the factors:

  • The defendant’s prior criminal record (including any juvenile offenses);
  • The defendant’s record of appearance (or non-appearance) at court proceedings, and any ‘flight’ to avoid prosecution;
  • The defendant’s history of substance abuse or addiction;
  • The defendant’s mental condition, including their character and their reputation for being potentially dangerous;
  • The seriousness of the charges against the defendant, whether or not threats have been made, and the likelihood of conviction:
  • The defendant’s employment status, and their financial history (as it applies to their ability to post bail);
  • The availability of responsible community who are willing to vouch for, or monitor, the defendant;
  • The defendant’s ties to the community, including family ties and relationships, and how long they’ve lived in the area, and;
  • Any other facts that may affect a defendant’s’ the risk of non-appearance for court dates, or danger to the public.

If you’ve been arrested, then posting bond and getting out of jail is a big deal!

Being arrested is a terrifying experience for most people, and one of the first things (naturally) that they want to determine is how soon they can get back to their life. Sitting in jail makes it really hard to care for your kids, earn a wage, and even keep your job. And that’s where a top criminal defense attorney comes in. At The Kronzek Firm PLC, our hard working and tenacious criminal defense attorneys fight to protect your rights and ensure the best outcome in your case, including working hard to get you manageable bail. We’ve helped thousands of clients over the past decades. We can help you too.

Call us 24/7 at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) to find out what the next best steps are for you.

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