Michigan Bonds – Types of Bail Bonds: Recognizance, Conditional Release, and Cash Bonds
Common Michigan Bail Bonds Arrangements
The Michigan laws involving bail bonds are complex. Many people go through the court system without fully understanding this part of their case. As trial attorneys practicing Michigan criminal law for many years, we have guided countless clients through the bonding process.
The court wants to ensure that criminal defendants actually come to court for their court dates, rather than flee while the case is pending. To help ensure defendants show up to court, the courts go through the process of setting the terms and conditions of pre-trial release. In their various forms, bonds are essentially the posting of security (usually cash) or a promise to pay money if the defendant fails to show up for court. It is the same concept in a criminal case. If the defendant does not show up in court or violates one of the conditions of pre-trial release, the defendant or the defendant’s agent will be required to pay money to the court. Essentially, posting bond is a contractual promise that the defendant will come back to court for all court dates and obey the other instructions of the court.
When a defendant is charged with a criminal offense, one of the first things the magistrate or judge will decide is what will happen to the defendant while waiting for future court dates. The magistrate or judge looks to many factors to make the decision on what type of release a defendant will receive, such as the defendant’s prior criminal record, the defendant’s history of appearing in court, the seriousness of the offense charged, whether the defendant appears to be a flight risk, and more. There are four pre-trial release options that the magistrate or judge can select:
I. Release on a Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond)
II. Conditional Release
III. Bail Bond, posted in the manner of a bail bondsman, 10% bond, full cash bond, or real property bond
IV. Keep the defendant in Custody without issuing bail
What is a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond?
If the defendant is not ordered to be held in custody, the court may order a PR bond. This is an unsecured appearance bond that assumes the defendant will return to court in the future. People out on a PR bond can generally live their normal life while awaiting the completion of the criminal case, except that they cannot leave Michigan without court approval, they cannot commit any crimes, and they must return to court when expected. These types of bonds are generally only granted in the smaller types of court cases, such as with low-level misdemeanor charges. However, a judge will not order a PR bond if the PR bond will not reasonably ensure the appearance of the defendant or if releasing the defendant on a PR bond would be a danger to the public.
What is Conditional Release of a Criminal?
The second release option after a criminal charge is a Conditional Release. If the magistrate or judge feels that a PR bond will not reasonably ensure the defendant will return to court or reasonably ensure the safety of the public, he or she might allow the defendant out of custody on a Conditional Release. Just like a PR Bond release, criminal defendants out on Conditional Release cannot leave Michigan without court approval, cannot commit any crime while released, and must attend their future court dates. However, they may also be required to meet extra bond conditions. Some examples of these extra conditions include: no alcohol or drug use, no possession of a firearm, no entering certain property, mandatory substance abuse treatment, and restrictions on living and working environments. One of the terms can even be the payment of bail (see below for a detailed discussion on bail bonds). In cases where a victim is named, it is common to have a bond condition which specifies that there shall be no direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim.
What is a Bail Bond?
“Do I get my bail money back?”
When Can They Keep the Defendant in Custody Without Issuing Bail?
Appealing a Pre-Trial Custody Decision
If a defendant was ordered to custody without the option of bail, the defendant can request a hearing on that decision. The defendant is entitled to be represented by an attorney at this hearing. Many defendants who are held without bail face serious charges that hold the possibility of many years or life in prison, and they will do what it takes to get out of custody before their trial, including hiring a trained and confident attorney to try to get the judge to order a pre-trial release. The procedure for appealing or modifying a bond decision depends on the stage the defendant’s case is in when the defendant seeks to appeal or modify the decision. Contested bond litigation is best left in the hands of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Email or call us at 866-7-NoJail to discuss your individual bond situation.