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Getting out of jail before trial - What are your options?

For a defendant, sitting in jail while waiting for the resolution of a criminal case can have devastating financial and emotional effects. You can lose your job. You can lose custody of your children. You can lose your home or be evicted from your apartment. And a long period of pretrial incarceration could tempt you into accepting a bad plea bargain.

Getting released from jail after an arrest has many benefits for the defendant. Not only can he or she resume normal life, the defendant can also play a constructive role in the defense effort. This blog post will discuss the various options a person may have.

Getting out of jail in Colorado

The bond system used to be about the only way a person could get out of jail before the resolution of a criminal case. With the reform of the bail bond system in 2013 however,  release mechanisms became available. Here is a summary of the various pre-trial release methods that are available in Colorado:

Cash bond - Depending on the charge, it may be possible to pay cash and get released prior to trial. There is a set schedule of bond amounts depending on the severity of the charge. The 2013 law encourages judges to consider individual factors when setting bond conditions. As stated in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 16-4-103:

"...the court shall incorporate into the bond schedule conditions of release and factors that consider the individualized risk and circumstances of a person in custody..."

Some of the factors that can be considered include the employment status of the accused, family circumstances, the character of the accused, etc. If the amount of bond is too high relative to the financial means of the defendant or defendant's family, a criminal defense lawyer can ask for a bond reduction hearing and present evidence to support the request.

Surety bond - If you or your family does not have enough money to pay a cash bond, you may be able to get a bail bondsman to post the bond. They typically charge 10 to 20% of the total amount of bond, plus fees. These fees are non-refundable.

Property bond - In some but not all Colorado jurisdictions, personal or real property can be used to post bond.

Personal recognizance bond - After review of the complaint and the personal history of the accused, a judge can release you on a personal recognizance bond. You do not have to pay anything right away, but if you miss a court date, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. When apprehended, you will have to pay the amount of the bond.

Pre-trial supervision - Depending on circumstances, it may be possible to get released under this program. It's much like probation. You will have to periodically check in with a Pretrial Officer, and you may have to undergo toxicological screenings. You may also have to wear a GPS device or Secure Remote Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device.

If you or a loved one needs help regarding a bond or pre-trial release matter, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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