After an arrest is made, the court may consider setting terms of bail for the defendant. Bail is an amount of money paid to the court for the defendant's release from police custody. The amount is heavily dependent on the alleged crime that the defendant has been accused of, along with any aggravating factors associated with the event. For crimes that are deemed particularly serious or violent crimes, the court may set a high bail. While bail is initially set for an amount deemed by a judge, bail is not always a permanent amount. When a person wishes to petition the court for a reduced bail amount, they must file a motion with the Bail Administration Office within the Berks County Court of Common Pleas, located in Reading, PA.
Motion to Reduce Bail in Berks County
When bail is set high, it can be out of reach for many defendants. This can necessitate bail bonds or debt in order for a defendant to be released. Factors that influence the court's decision to reduce bail can include:
- Any likelihood of the defendant fleeing before they can be held to trial
- The impact of the defendant's alleged crime on the community
- The crime that the defendant has been charged with
The county will often take into account a defendant's "flight risk" as the basis for the amount of bail set as the primary factor.
Bail Reduction Hearings in Berks County
Once a motion to reduce bail is filed, the court will likely schedule a hearing for the modification of bail. This will likely be with the same judge who set the bail, or who has handled the arraignment. At this hearing, defendants will be allowed both representation and chances to present evidence and argue for their bail reduction. However, the prosecuting attorney may choose to argue against the defendant to keep the bail set at the initial amount. The judge must be convinced through a defendant's evidence, argument, and reasoning that bail should be reduced.
Negotiating better terms for bail is key to developing a strong defense. A defendant held in custody of the state may have trouble accessing legal resources. In addition, retaining the services of an attorney as early as the stage for negotiating bail means an attorney will have more time the build a defense from the very start of a case, rather than coming later. Motioning to reduce bail can allow a defendant to potentially be able to be released from state custody, and may permit them more time to build their case for their day in court.