In 1987, the late, great Justice Thurgood Marshall said the Constitution is a living document. Its provisions, including the bail clause in the Eighth Amendment, must adapt to conditions that the Founders never dealt with, such as a global pandemic.
Overcrowded jails are very dangerous during virus outbreaks. One coronavirus case quickly infects everyone else. That includes inmates and staff. Furthermore, many inmates have compromised immune systems, largely due to drug use, HIV exposure, alcohol abuse, and other conditions that may have contributed to their initial incarceration. The powerful coronavirus usually makes such people seriously ill, at best.
This situation has prompted some people to redefine “reasonable bail,” as well as the nature of bail conditions. Rather predictably, advocacy groups, like The Bail Project, have urged officials to essentially empty county jails as the disease spreads across the nation. Perhaps more surprisingly, Attorney General William Barr recently instructed federal prosecutors to account for coronavirus when they make bail recommendations. Global pandemics make strange bedfellows.
How does all this affect Montgomery County families who are dealing with the sudden and unexpected arrest of a friend or loved one? In the current environment, Clarksville, TN bail bondsmen have more options than ever when it comes to getting people out of jail before they stand trial and possibly keeping them out permanently, unless a judge sentences them to incarceration.
Procedural Knowledge in a Fluid Situation
Bail bondsmen do more than just get people out of jail. They are an excellent resource for things like the amount of bail and how to preemptively determine bail conditions given the defendants set of circumstances. Before March 2020, these answers were usually easy to obtain. But then, everything changed. Since the onset of COVID-19, these answers change daily in our current environment.
Perhaps moreso than other criminal justice professionals, bail bondsmen know more about what’s going on inside the jails than other folks. They also frequently know about the next policy declaration before it becomes public. Up-to-date information is crucial, and the Fizer Bonding Company bail bonds office (bail bond near me) is the best place to get it.
One of the best ways to avoid the risk of temporary confinement is to avoid it altogether. COVID-19 has reduced jail inmate populations. So, deputies who were once on guard duty now have front desk/processing duty. Therefore, it is easier than ever to bookin and bookout.
Generally, a bail bond agent accompanies defendants who voluntarily surrender. Their presence helps expedite the process. The process usually takes only a couple of hours, and defendants never go past the holding area. Sometimes, especially due to coronavirus fears, they do not even go past a secured waiting area.
A few tips to remember. Call your Fizer Bonding Company agent and make your surrender plans with them first. It’s usually best to surrender during the middle of the week. Jailers are usually not as busy during these periods. Have your attorney’s number on speed dial and make sure s/he knows what you are planning to do as well. Finally, have someone drive you to and from the jail.
Relaxed Bail Standards
Coronavirus has altered the standards during initial determinations, subsequent reconsiderations, and revocation proceedings.
Pretrial release is a good example of how COVID-19 has changed initial determinations. Usually, only defendants charged with nonviolent misdemeanors and criminal records which are as clean as a whistle are eligible for OR (Own Recognizance) release. That’s a very small number of people.
Now, the approach has changed. Pretrial release review boards are now anxious to release defendants, and release them quickly. So, even if the defendant is a less-than-perfect candidate for pretrial release, the board may be much more inclined to grant it. Furthermore, the wheels of justice are apt to turn more quickly. The we’ll-look-at-this-tomorrow bureaucratic attitude is gone, at least for now.
OR (Own Recognizance) release basically transforms an arrest into a traffic ticket. The defendant promises to appear at trial, and the sheriff releases the defendant.
Judges have always considered a number of additional factors besides the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal record during bail reduction hearings. Now, they have an additional factor to consider. And, the coronavirus factor weighs high in favor of releasing the defendant.
As outlined below, bail conditions have changed as well. That change affects revocation proceedings. Normally, if you violate bail conditions, judges either add additional restrictive conditions or revoke bail altogether. Now, they are more inclined to be lenient. No one wants to send an unsentenced inmate to jail, especially due to a technicality like failure to report.
This slack only goes so far though. It’s very important to follow all bail conditions to the letter, unless it’s absolutely impossible to do so and if such a situation arises, you must inform your bondsman asap!
Before COVID-19, inmate release was usually the last thing on a to-do list. Many people whose paperwork had already been processed, languished for several hours before they were released. Those several hours usually seem like several days.
The virus has turned our lives upside-down, and it has also turned jailers’ priorities upside-down. Release has moved from the bottom of the list to the top. The sooner the county releases people, the happier its lawyers are. The last thing they need is an inmate suing the county because s/he contracted coronavirus while s/he was waiting to be released.
Relaxed Bail Conditions
Bail bonds usually come with conditions, such as reporting to the company, remaining within the county at all times, and avoiding further legal trouble. These conditions are normally not as strict.
Bail bondsmen are in a very good position to make practical accommodations based on coronavirus. There may be no need for a hearing or an official declaration. More often in these coronavirus days, everything is a case-by-case matter.
This outbreak will eventually come to an end. But a bail bondsman’s flexibility will not end. If you need accommodations on certain bail conditions, your Fizer Bonding Company agent can usually make the necessary arrangements to help you out. And, if problems do develop later on and you were honest with them upfront, they will do their best to not let them develop into bail revocation down the road as a consequence.
Your Fizer bondsman (bail bonds Clarksville tn) is available to serve you 24/7/365, virus or no virus. For more information about jail release in Robertson and Montgomery Counties, contact Fizer Bonding Company (bail bonds clarksville tn) for a FREE Bail Consultation. We are a 40 year old family owned company and offer 24/7 affordable professional bonding services. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. For more info about Fizer Bonding Company bail bonds, click here.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
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