Can I Bail Out If I’ve Been Charged with a Federal Crime?

statue of justice

As you may know, Texas law allows arrested suspects to bond out of jail when facing criminal charges. But can you bail out if you have been charged with a federal crime? Facing a criminal offense under federal and state law is two different processes, which is why it is imperative to understand how the federal system works if you are facing charges in federal court.

Facing criminal charges under federal law is a serious matter, which is why you should not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss your particular situation and determine your options. Speak with a Coryell County criminal defense attorney to talk about your situation if you have been charged with a federal crime.

What Happens When You Are Charged with a Federal Crime?

When you are charged with a federal crime, you will be detained until a detention hearing, during which a judge will decide whether to release you or hold you in jail. The Bail Reform Act of 1984 authorized a pretrial officer and judge to consider the safety of other people and the community when making a pretrial release determination and deciding to:

  1. Release the defendant on their own recognizance

  2. Execute a bond

  3. Release the defendant with specific conditions

  4. Hold the defendant in jail

If you are not sure what happens when you are charged with a federal crime, contact a skilled criminal lawyer to know what to expect.

Can You Bail Out When Charged with a Federal Crime?

Judges in federal courts consider a variety of factors when determining whether or not to allow the defendant to bail out. These factors include the risk of flight and possible risks posed by the detainee to the community, among others.

When you are charged with a federal crime, you cannot simply pay your way out of jail. When facing criminal charges under federal law, you need a knowledgeable lawyer who knows how to convince federal judges to release a defendant from jail while awaiting trial.

Bail and Pretrial Interviews in Federal Courts

After a defendant is arrested, a pretrial officer will conduct a pretrial interview with the detainee. The interview takes place before the detention hearing. During the pretrial interview, the detainee is interviewed about their:

  • Background information

  • Employment

  • Education

  • Family

  • Financial status

  • And others

Note: A detainee can exercise their Fifth Amendment rights during the pretrial interview. It means that if you are arrested in connection with a federal crime, you can refuse to answer questions about the alleged criminal offense.

After the pretrial interview, the officer will prepare a report and make recommendations to the federal judge regarding the detainee’s bail. In most cases, judges in federal courts rely on the pretrial officer’s report to make a decision regarding the detainee’s bail.

Thus, whether or not you can get out on bail if you have been charged with a federal crime depends on how well your pretrial interview goes.

Getting Out on Bail After the Detention Hearing

After the pretrial interview, a federal judge will hold a detention hearing in which he or she will make a decision regarding the possible release of the detainee from jail. During the detention hearing, the judge will consider the pretrial officer’s report as well as the factors outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 3142.

The section of the U.S. Code is guided by the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits courts from requesting excessive bails, imposing unreasonable fines, or inflicting unusual penalties.

Under the aforementioned section, a detainee’s release from jail is appropriate unless the release would endanger the safety of any person or the community as a whole. The statute advises against releasing detainees from jail if there is probable cause to believe that the person committed any of the following criminal offenses:

  • An act of terrorism

  • A drug crime with a maximum sentence of 10 or more years

  • A drug with the use of a firearm

  • Human trafficking

  • Offenses against minors

The statute also sets forth a list of factors that federal judges must consider when deciding whether or not to release a detainee during the detention hearing. These factors include:

  • The nature of the criminal offense;

  • The circumstances of the offense

  • The strengths and weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case

  • The detainee’s physical and mental health

  • The detainee’s family ties

  • Their employment and financial resources

  • Their ties in the community

  • Their past criminal history

  • Their history of alcohol or drug abuse

  • The risk of danger to other people in the community

These and many other factors will be considered by the judge when deciding whether to release you on bail at the detention hearing. It is vital to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney to convince the judge to release you from jail.

What Are the Pretrial Release Conditions for Federal Offenses?

A federal judge may impose pretrial release conditions for releasing a detainee on bail, including:

  • The requirement to surrender their passport

  • The requirement to abstain from alcohol and drugs

  • The requirement to surrender firearms

  • Restrictions on the detainee’s ability to travel outside the specified geographical area

  • Curfew

  • The requirement to stay away from certain people or institutions

  • The requirement to maintain one’s employment

  • Mandatory GPS monitor on the ankle

  • Other requirements and restrictions that may be appropriate under the given circumstances

Judges use their discretion when imposing pretrial release conditions for bail. It is not uncommon for detainees to argue that the imposed pretrial release conditions are unreasonable. Fortunately, federal law allows defendants to file an appeal if they can prove that the proposed conditions are not reasonable.

If a federal judge imposed pretrial release conditions for your bail and you believe that the conditions are unreasonable, do not hesitate to contact an attorney to discuss how you can appeal the conditions.

Following your pretrial release, you will no longer be detained. However, you will most likely be subject to the pretrial release conditions imposed by the judge while awaiting trial. You are required to appear in court for your next court appearance.

Speak with a Coryell County Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a federal crime. Our dedicated lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard will evaluate your particular situation to determine whether or not you can bail out. Call (254) 220-4225 to schedule a free consultation.
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