When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, in certain situations they may be held in police custody. At an arraignment to hear out their criminal charges, a person will have the circumstances of their crime weighed out and the judge will decide whether or not bail should be instated. Bail is a monetary amount paid to the courts in order for a defendant's release. Release on bail is important, as a defendant will have more access to their attorney. Higher bail amounts can keep a person from being released, as the figure may be too large for themselves or their family to pay. Defendants can request for the court to reduce their bail. Bail payment and hearings are handled at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, located in Norristown, PA.
Reducing Bail in Montgomery County
When a defendant wishes to reduce their bail, they must file a request with the court. High bail amounts can mean taking out expensive bail bonds or taking on high amounts of debt. Being kept under police custody can also reduce a defendant's access to their attorney and other resources. When determining whether or not to reduce a defendant's bail amount, a judge may consider the following:
- A defendant's "flight risk," the likelihood of them fleeing their court date
- The crime that the defendant has been charged with
- Any potential for the defendant to cause harm to the community
These factors will also be considered in the initial bail amount as well.
Hearings for Reducing Bail in Montgomery County
Defendant's held under police custody can prepare and file a motion to reduce bail. Once the motion is filed, the court may order a hearing to defend the motion. The judge that initially set the bail is likely to hold the hearing, as well as make the decision on the matter. Hearings are attended by both defendant, and likely the prosecution, as well. Both parties are entitled to present evidence and arguments in order to support their motion. Prosecutors will bring heavy opposition, especially if the crime was more serious in nature. After both parties have made their arguments, the judge will make a decision.
Reducing bail can significantly improve a defendant's chances in court. High bail can prevent a defendant from accessing their attorney and other resources necessary to properly build a strong defense. One of the benefits of involving an attorney as early as the bail negotiation stage is the attorney's early involvement. Early representation from an experienced attorney can significantly increase a person's chances at a positive outcome in court.