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All right, so once a case is filed in Oklahoma, arrest warrant issues, and along with that arrest warrant, usually there’s a bond that’s automatically determined.
So we’ve got bond schedules in a lot of the counties, not all of them, but a lot of the largest counties have a bond schedule so that depending on what the offense is, it automatically says what to charge as the initial bond.
Some people have concerns about that because they think that, well, the bond should be determined by the individual circumstances of the person. That’s absolutely true. And the good news is, is that you are entitled to an individualized determination of the bond.
But if the bond is set, you’re not able to bond out or you wait to bond out, you can file a motion for a bond hearing, individually determined on your circumstances, on what the bond should be.
And that’s the bond hearing. That’s our second stage. And the most important case when we’re talking about a bond hearing is Brill case.
And you’ll frequently hear it to talk about if you deal with these sorts of things as the Brill factors. Because the Brill court is real strict and this is a decision from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals from 1998 but it’s still used today as the precedent for determining bond.
And it lists out eight factors for determining what a bond should be set. But before it lists those eight factors, it talks about some of the importance of bonds.
It says, “We first want to reiterate that our constitutional provisions guarantee the right to bond to an accused in a criminal case subject to only limited exceptions.
This guarantee is based upon the principle that a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty and that the person should be admitted to bail until his guilt has been proven.
Unless this right to bail before trial has preserved the presumption of innocence loses its meaning. The right to freedom before convictions permits the unhampered preparation of a defense and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction.”
There’s strong words in here that indicate that innocent people, people presumed to be innocent because they have not been found guilty yet, should not be held. So pretrial detention should only be in limited circumstances.
But then it goes on to talk about that the main reason for having bail is to ensure the presence of the accused at future proceedings, to make sure you show up for court.
That’s the main thing. But then it lists the eight factors for determining what the bail should be and who gets bail. Although most people should get bail and those are the factors that you go through at the hearing.
So when we file a motion for a bond reduction, we go through these eight factors. We have a paragraph in our motion going over each one indicating that this is a person that should get out on bail or even a personal recognizance bond, and those factors are seriousness of the crime and likelihood of conviction.
So we get to argue some of the weaknesses in the state’s case at that time. Whether the defendant has a prior criminal history is a factor. The defendant’s reputation and mental condition, the length of residence in the community.
That’s a big one. What are the community ties? Because like I said before, it’s all about ensuring the defendant’s appearance at trial and at future court dates. So if the person has lots of ties to the community, it’s less likely that they’re going to flee.
Family ties and relationships, that’s the next factor and that follows the same sort of thinking there. Employment status also ties them the community. Record of employment and financial condition, the identity of responsible members and community who would vouch for the defendant.
So if you’ve got a lot of family and friends that would vouch for you, you want them to talk to your attorney, you want them to show up for the bond hearings so that they can be there to vouch for them in person. That can be very meaningful to a judge.
Other factors, defendant’s mode of life, ties to the community, bearing on the risk of failure to appear. Other things in addition to that you might argue is, what are your responsibilities that you have? What are you not able to do when you’re in custody? Do you have kids at home that no one else is able to care for?
Those are things you want to argue as well, although it might not be a particular factor here, you could argue that’s within family ties, but it’s really something separate. It’s that I’ve got to be out. Otherwise these responsibilities are going to be thrown on somebody else and it’s going to affect children.
Those are factors that the court could consider as well because the last thing that it talks about on here is any other factors. That’s the last one. Any other factors talks about mode of life ties to the community. So that’s what happens at a Brill hearing or a bond hearing in an Oklahoma misdemeanor case.
If you’re going through those circumstances, need a bond hearing, have a friend or family member that’s in custody, want to look at filing for a bond reduction hearing or to set a bond, that’s something that my office may be able to provide you with representation or just a free consult on. If you want to talk to somebody in my office, the Wirth Law Office, go to makelaweasy.com.