The Seriousness of the Offense Can Impact Your Amount for Bail
Video Transcribed: The seven factors for a bail bond hearing in Oklahoma. I’m Tulsa attorney, James Wirth, and the topic of the day is what are the factors to be considered by the court when setting the amount for bail in Tulsa and for a reduction, or a change in bail, and actually goes down to a precedent from a case from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. It’s the petition of Humphrey, it was published in 1979, that case number is 1979-OKCR97.
And in that case, the court listed out seven factors to be considered by the court when determining the amount for bail in a case. And those factors are first, the seriousness of the crime alleged against the defendant, the apparent likelihood of conviction, and the extent of the punishment prescribed by the legislature.
So that’s actually three different things listed as the first one, but according to the court, that is the first one to consider. That is the seriousness of the offense, the likelihood of conviction, and the type or the range of punishment should there be a conviction.
The second one to consider is the defendant’s criminal record if any, and the previous record on bail, if any. So if there’s a lot of criminal previous charges and convictions, that would be factored in.
If the person was previously out on a bail bond and failed to appear for court, that is a consideration for factor two. Factor three, his or her reputation and mental conditions.
Factor four, the length of his residency in the community. So what kind of ties are there to the community? How long has the person lived there? Is the person likely to run off to another community if there are no ties here? Might just skip state. Five, his family ties and relationship, that’s related. How many ties are there to the community?
Six, his employment status, a record of employment, and his financial condition. That is employment status has to do with ties to the community. Is the person likely to continue to be here, to continue working here?
The other part is financial conditions may go the other way. If the person is well off, then it may be needed that they actually put up a lot of money in order to secure their appearance in court. If a few thousand dollars is nothing to them, then that might not be enough to secure their appearance so that could be an argument for a higher bond.
The identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for the defendant’s reliability. So if you’ve got, considered people with good reputations in the community with strong ties to the community that will vouch for you, then you’re going to want them to appear at that Brill hearing, that bail bonds hearing in order to vouch for you there because that is factor number seven.
So those are the factors for the court to consider. I can tell you that when we do bond reduction hearings, we draft a motion, we lift these factors and then we apply them to the facts of our clients to make the most compelling argument that a low bond should be had.
Because ultimately these people are presumed innocent, they have not been found guilty yet, they need to be out in order to prepare for their defense so they can have a fair trial, and bond is not supposed to be a punishment.
It is supposed to secure an appearance at court but obviously, we also have to provide for the safety of the community as well. So there could be conditions put on it such as ankle monitors, but generally speaking, there are constitutional rights to have bail determined so that you can be out of custody in pretrial detention unless it’s a very limited exception related to the most heinous of offenses.
If you’ve got questions about a Brill hearing, a bail bond hearing, or how that may apply to somebody’s circumstances, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney confidentially about that. To get that scheduled with somebody at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.