Appearing at required court dates is probably the most important condition of bail. This condition has changed significantly, especially in the coronavirus age. In the “BC” (before corona) times, most judges required defendants to appear at all pretrial hearings, even the purple procedural ones. Now, however, many judges only require defendants to appear at hearings and trials. Some other common conditions of bail are discussed below.

Many Montgomery County bail bonds companies do little or nothing to remind defendants about required court dates. They see such reminders as a lawyer’s job. There are some major problems with this approach, which is why we, Fizer Bonding Company, use a different one in Springfield, Tennessee. Most local criminal defense attorneys are diligent individuals who actively look out for their clients’ rights. But not all of them fall into this category. Furthermore, many criminal defendants don’t have lawyers, especially in the early stages of their cases.

At Fizer Bonding Company, we are different. We transmit regular reminders to defendants about their upcoming court dates. Sometimes, we call people or email them. Generally, however, we send text messages. These messages are discreet and usually get people’s attention better than anything else. We usually include specific directions, such as “the circuit court is located on the first floor of the courts building.” If necessary, we also include a link to relevant mass transit information.

Common Bail Conditions in Montgomery County

Attending required hearings is the most important condition of bail. But it’s usually not the only one. That’s especially true in bail bond cases. A bail bond is essentially an insurance policy. All policyholders know that these policies usually have additional conditions on top of paying premiums. Bail bonds are no different. To protect their financial stakes in these cases, most bail bondsmen near you add additional conditions, such as:

  • Staying out of trouble with the law,
  • Remaining in the county,
  • Checking in with an agent every week or month, and
  • Avoiding certain persons, places, or habits.

Usually, most bail bond contracts prohibit defendants from going to bars or places which serve alcohol. A few contracts, especially in DUI bail cases, require defendants to abstain from alcohol. Most judges usually impose such requirements once the case goes to court, so this bail condition gives defendants a head start in staying sober and out of trouble.

Installing and maintaining an Ignition Interlock Device is another common DUI bail condition. IIDs are essentially small Breathalyzers that mechanics attach to a vehicle’s ignition. Unless the driver provides a breath sample below a pre-set limit, which is usually .04, the vehicle won’t start.

When the car is on the road, the IID occasionally prompts the driver to give additional breath samples. It’s not always safe to blow into a hose. So, the device allows a certain number of rolling refusals. Too many such refusals, or a rolling failure, disable the ignition and make it impossible to re-start the car.

Additional bail conditions are also very common in assault crimes. Many judges add conditions like stay-away and kick-out orders to bail agreements. A stay-away order prohibits defendants from contacting alleged victims. Kick-out orders exclude defendants from shared residences.

These conditions, and other conditions, exist to keep people safe and not to punish defendants. If a condition crosses the line, modification might be appropriate. A keep-away order is a good example. Technically, these orders could prohibit, or at least restrict, parent-child contact. 

As part of the intake process, we ask questions in these areas, not to be nosy, but to get ahead of any potential problems. Often we can help to modify the conditions if we know about issues in advance.

What to Expect in a Criminal Case

There are usually five different types of settings in Tennessee criminal cases. Not every defendant must appear at every one, and not all cases have all types of settings.

First Appearance

This setting is, wait for it, the first setting in a criminal case. Most judges always require defendants to show up at these settings, even if they already have lawyers. Most judges want to review some specifics about the charges and ensure that the defendant understands what’s going on.

If the defendant does not have a lawyer, the Sixth Amendment technically requires the court to provide one. But that’s not always the way things work.

Depending on the court, the provided attorney is a court-appointed private lawyer or a public defender.

These lawyers have at times received a bad reputation in certain parts of the United States. Sometimes, these reputations are justified. Some court-appointed lawyers are newly graduated from law school and might seem to be underqualified in a specific area of law and some public defenders are just simply overworked. However, in the vast majority of situations, these advocates are just as good as, or even better than, a privately-retained attorney.

However, such assistance is not always available to defendants who are out on bail. Many judges assume, rightly or wrongly, that if the defendant can afford bail, the defendant has the funds to hire a lawyer. More often than not, family and friends have stepped forward to pay the bail bond and do not have extra funds available to pay for the attorney. 

Announcement

In this context, “announcement” is Legalese for “deciding what to do next.” Attorneys need some time to evaluate cases, investigate the facts, and identify all possible defenses. After this analysis is complete, attorneys and clients decide on the next step. Some judges require defendants to appear at announcement hearings and some do not.

Plea

Nine times out of ten, a plea is the best option. Usually, plea bargain agreements feature reduced charges and/or lower sentences. The old saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is usually true in this context. A plea is not a complete dismissal of charges or a not guilty verdict. But in many cases, it’s almost as good and avoids the uncertainty of trial.

Bench Trial

Sometimes, prosecutors and defense attorneys cannot agree on a plea bargain. Politics frequently get in the way. Supervisors may insist on prosecutors to press forward no matter what. Bench trials are much less elaborate than jury trials, so they are easier to schedule. The judge serves as both judge and jury.

Jury Trial

Attorneys usually set cases for jury trial when the facts are not necessarily on their side but the defendant is somewhat sympathetic. The so-called nerd defense is a good example. Jurors look more favorably upon nerdy defendants who wear eyeglasses or pocket protectors, especially in violent criminal cases.

The bonding agents at Fizer Bonding Company fully participate in making sure their bail clients appear at all required court dates and understand the importance of communicating effectively with the court system.  For more information about the bail bond process, contact the Clarksville, TN bail bondsmen at Fizer Bonding Company. For more information about your specific criminal justice case and proceedings, speak with your attorney. At Fizer Bonding Company we get people out of jail FAST and make the bail process EASY. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. 

“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”

Fizer Bonding Company in Montgomery County Tennessee

(931) 449-9351

Fizer Bonding Company in Robertson County Tennessee

(615) 667-1109

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