How Does Bail Bond Work in Georgia?
Arrested for DUI or some other criminal offense in Georgia? The first question you have to ask is how do I get out of jail pending a trial or plea? With over 40 years of combined experience defending DUI and felony criminal arrests, George C. Creal, Jr., P.C. are the Real Deal DUI and Criminal Law Attorneys. For more information on a strong DUI defense, visit our Helpful GA DUI Guide.
In Ayala v. State, 262 Ga. 704, 425 S.E.2d 282 (1993), the Georgia Supreme Court definitely explained how bail bonds in Georgia are supposed to work. The purpose of a pretrial bond is to prevent punishment before a conviction and to secure the appearance of the person in court for trial. Roberts v. State, 32 Ga. App. 339, 340-341 (123 SE 151) (1924). The standards for determining whether to grant release prior to trial are based on the 1968 American Bar Association pretrial release standards. Lane v. State, 247 Ga. 387, 388, n. 2 (276 SE2d 644) (1981).
The trial court may release a person on bail if the court finds the person:
(1) Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;
(2) Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;
(3) Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and
(4) Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.
OCGA § 17-6-1 (e).
The trial court must explain its reasons for denying bond to assist appellant review. Lane, 247 Ga. at 389. The granting or denial of bail will not be set aside unless there is a manifest and flagrant abuse of discretion. Jernagin v. State, 118 Ga. 307, 308 (45 SE 411) (1903). The defendant has the burden of coming forward initially with evidence to show that he or she poses no significant risk of fleeing, threatening the community, committing another crime, or intimidating a witness. This burden of production means that a person charged with murder must present evidence at the bond hearing on factors that indicate roots in the community. To meet the Defendant’s burden of producing evidence, the “evidence must be such that a reasonable man could draw from it the inference of the existence of the particular fact to be proved.” McCormick On Evidence, § 338 (E. Cleary 3d ed. 1984). An example of some of the factors the Court should consider are the defendant’s length and character of residence in the community, employment status and history, past history of responding to legal process, and prior criminal record. See Lane, 247 Ga. at 388, n. 2. Once the defendant meets the burden of production, the state may present evidence to rebut it. Placing the burden of production on the defendant is fair because the accused is the best source of information on his or her community ties.
In the State of Georgia, unlike many other states, the presumption of innocence has always remained with the person accused of a criminal offense or even capital offense like murder, even during the trial. Vanderford v. Brand, 126 Ga. 67, 70 (54 SE 822) (1906). “The most fundamental premise of our criminal justice system is that a person ought not to be punished for a criminal offense until the state demonstrates guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” 2 ABA, Standards for Criminal Justice 10-1.1 comment (1980). “Unless [the] right to bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning.” Stack v. Boyle, 342 U. S. 1, 4 (72 SC 1, 96 LE 3) (1951).
To protect this presumption of innocence, the Georgia Supreme Court has held that the state has the burden of persuasion in convincing the superior court that a defendant is not entitled to pretrial release. This requirement means the state has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the trial court should deny bail either to secure the defendant’s appearance in court or to protect the community. Depending on the quality of the defendant’s evidence, the state may not need to present any evidence to carry its burden of persuasion. Other states and the Federal Bail Reform Act, 18 USC §§ 3146-3152, place a similar burden of proof on the government.
The judge has very wide discretion in what monetary value to assign to a bail bond for a criminal defendant. Once you are granted a bond by a Judge in a specific monetary amount generally you can pay cash in the full amount of the bond, you can put up property as collateral for a bond as long as you have three times the equity in your property as the bond amount, or you can hire a professional bail bonding company. Most sheriff’s departments will list on their websites the companies that are approved to put up a bond for you. If you hire a professional bail bonding company, they will generally charge a 12% premium or fee on your bond which they will keep even after your case over.
We have handled thousands of criminal cases, hundreds of bond hearings, had hundreds of felony charges reduced or dismissed, had thousands of DUI arrests reduced to reckless driving and other non-DUI traffic offenses, and tried over of one hundred DUI Jury Trials to Not Guilty verdicts on all DUI charges and tried scores of felony criminal cases to not guitly verdicts. Unlike other Georgia Criminal lawyers, we have valuable Not Guilty Jury Trial Experience, which is rarer than you might realize. Ask other lawyers when was the last time they heard a jury say the words “Not Guilty” in a DUI Trial. You will be surprised how many so-called “expert DUI lawyers” cannot give you a straight answer.
THE GEORGE C. CREAL JR. P.C. REAL DEAL GUARANTEE
The Real Deal Guarantee – You should never settle when choosing DUI representation. You deserve a DUI lawyer with experience and integrity, not a pretender. In a town with countless rookies and “plea lawyers,” George C. Creal Jr., P.C. is the real deal. We are an experienced, professional DUI defense firm ready to do anything within our power to ensure that our clients receive the best possible result in their DUI case. Our firm has a reputation for winning DUI cases and aggressively defending our DUI clients.
For Our Firm, Client Communication is Essential
We do not hesitate to give you our office numbers, cell phone numbers, and email address. If you call, text or email us about your case, we will contact you as soon as possible and never in more than 24 hours. We understand you are nervous about your criminal charges, but with our firm you can relax. We represent a diverse group of Criminal, DUI and traffic clients every single day throughout the State of Georgia and always ensure that our clients receive the care and respect they deserve. Our goal is that at the end of your case you feel confident recommending us to your closest friends and relatives. For our firm, customer service is priority number one.
You can meet us in person at our office or we can start your case over the phone or internet. We know you are busy and we value your time. We will take care of your DUI case so you can get back to what matters in life: work, friends, and family. Our first consultation is always free and we will send an ALS DUI license hearing request letter for free as long as you pay the Georgia Department of Driver Services’ $150.00 filing fee. In order to request a hearing, these letters must be sent within ten business days of your arrest, so please contact us quickly if you would like us to send a letter.
We handle all Georgia Criminal and DUI cases including those with or without breath and/or blood test results, refusals of blood, breath or urine, and cases with or without Standardized Field Sobriety Evaluations. We have handled DUI accidents and DUI fatalities, DUI drugs, fleeing and eluding police, marijuana possession, and felony and misdemeanor obstruction. Believe us, there is no set of facts our Fulton County DUI attorneys haven’t seen at least once. Our DUI defense procedure is highly refined and has proven over time to be a formula for success. We do not miss critical facts and seize even the most difficult DUI acquittals.
Georgia criminal charges are Serious and Can Result in Jail Time, Fines, and Lengthy License Suspensions – DO NOT Try to Represent Yourself
Under Georgia law for a first DUI you can be fined up to $1000.00 with 40% tacked on as court costs, spend up to 12 months, do 40 hours community service, be subject to drug and alcohol testing for one year and serve 12 months of reporting probation. Your license can be suspended anywhere from 120 days to 5 years. Do not try to handle your DUI without an experienced Fulton County DUI attorney.
Advice as to who you decide to hire as your Georgia criminal lawyer: 1) Don’t hire a criminal lawyer based solely on price. Sometimes the cheapest lawyer–especially if they plea you to a crime you don’t deserve or did not commit at the first opportunity–can be the most expensive. Cost per hour is the best way to compare lawyers. If a lawyer charges $1000, but only spends an hour on your case, that’s $1000 dollars an hour! We, unlike bargain basement firms, spend an average of 10 hours on every DUI case and usually over a hundred hours on felony cases. 2) Ask any attorney that you speak with whether he/she has tried any criminal jury trials and how many not guilty verdicts he/she has received; 3) Ask any attorney that you speak with whether he/she has studied police field sobriety training manuals and breath test machine, owner’s and area supervisor’s manuals. If not, they cannot adequately cross examine DUI police officers or breath test operators. A Criminal lawyer who can’t answer these questions is not ready for a real DUI jury trial and is not worth your time and money.
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