Bond and bail are two terms related to criminal charges that are used almost interchangeably in Wisconsin. However, they are two separate and distinct issues, though it is possible for the accused to be assigned both bond and bail.
Bail and bond are used to:
Bail or “cash bail” is a term that refers to an amount of money that must be paid in order to be released from jail until the accused is required to appear in court. A judge sets the bail amount, which is only used if the judge determines that the accused would be unlikely to report to court “of their own recognizance” or on their own honor. Judges must take into account the ability of the accused to afford the bail and should set it only “in the amount found necessary to assure the appearance of the defendant.”
Bond refers to a set of conditions that must be met by the accused in order to retain their freedom while awaiting trial. Different cases have different conditions. For example, if you are charged with an OWI, you may be restricted from driving if you have consumed any alcohol at all or within a certain period of time before you get behind the wheel. Those facing domestic abuse charges may be restricted from contacting their accuser. If the Wisconsin bond conditions imposed are not met or are ever disregarded by the accused, he or she can find themselves back in jail until the trial date arrives or may even face new charges.
Judges take several factors into account when deciding whether or not to set bond and/or bail. The first question they will consider is, “How likely is it that the defendant will appear for trial?” To determine the likelihood of the defendant’s appearance, judges will consider:
As an example, a defendant who lives locally, owns a home in the community, has children in the local schools, and a job in the area is far less likely to flee the charges than one who lives out of state. The defendant who lives locally may be released without cash bail, whereas the one who lives in another state may have to post cash bail.
A judge will also consider the defendant’s criminal background and whether or not he or she has missed court dates in the past. A defendant who has faced criminal charges in the past and missed court dates is more likely to be required to post cash bail than one who has not faced charges before or one who has faced charges but adhered to their court dates.
A judge will also consider the type and severity of the criminal charges levied. More serious charges or those that threaten another person will likely lead to bond and/or cash bail requirements. The logic is that the more serious the charge, the more likely the defendant will flee.
One of the most common reasons defendants first contact the Eisenberg Law Offices criminal defense attorneys is because they cannot meet the bail or bond requirements set against them. This is absolutely the correct action to take. A criminal defense attorney can file a bond modification motion which asks the court to reduce the bail amount. There is no guarantee that the amount will be reduced, but a skilled attorney will be able to argue the facts of the case in your favor and give you a fighting chance. It is possible that the judge will review the case, change his/her mind and reduce the bail amount or even remove it entirely.
Similarly, if Wisconsin bond conditions are proving to be particularly problematic for the defendant, an Eisenberg Law attorney can use the bond modification motion to ask for a modification of the bond conditions. This can be especially helpful for defendants who are most at risk of being charged with additional crimes if they cannot adhere to their bond conditions.
Wisconsin bond conditions and bail amounts add complexity to criminal charges. Depending on the requirements set, they can be unattainable or incredibly cumbersome for some defendants. If you are facing criminal charges in Wisconsin and are struggling with the bond or bail requirements, contact Eisenberg Law Offices right away for help. When contacted before the initial court appearance, we can often help get bond and bail requirements reduced or eliminated.
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The Information Contained In This Site Is Not Intended To Provide Legal Advice. Please Consult An Attorney To Discuss The Facts Of Your Individual Situation. Eisenberg Law Office, S.C. 308 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703 USA (608) 256-8356