A Look at Federal Detention Hearings

What is a Federal Detention Hearing

In state court many times a defendant will have a bond review hearing and the state court will decide what bond a person must post prior to being released.  It can be a cash or surety bond or a combination of both.  (see our previous blog on bonds).  In federal court, after a complaint has been filed, the US Attorney’s office may seek to have you detained until such time as the charges are resolved.  If they do seek for someone to be detained, then there is a detention hearing. In this blog, the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys of Banks & Brower take a look at the federal detention hearing.

At a detention hearing, the Government has the burden of proof.  In order to have a defendant detained, the Government must show by clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of the community.  If there is a reasonable set of conditions that would assure the safety of the community and the defendant is not otherwise a flight risk, then the defendant should not be detained.

In federal court, the pretrial services office will complete a report that the parties and court may rely on in terms of things to consider in determining whether the defendant will be released or not.  Additionally, the report will make a recommendation as to release and any recommended conditions.

U.S. Code defines the factors that the court must consider when hearing evidence and making a determination in a detention hearing.

  1. The nature and circumstances of the offense.  The court will take special note if it is a crime of violence or not and whether the crime involved narcotics;
  2. The strength of the evidence against the defendant;
  3. The history and character of the defendant;
  4. In terms of character, the court will look to the defendant’s employment, financial resources, mental and physical health, length of time in the community, any ties to the community, whether any past conduct involved drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, and whether or not the defendant has had issues with appearing in court in the past.
  5. In additions to the conditions in (a) the court will also inquire into whether at the time the defendant was on parole, release, or probation from other criminal charges in either federal or state court.
  6. Lastly, the court must consider the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or to the community that would be posed by the person’s release.

If the court determines that a defendant should not be detained, then the court will order the defendant released.  The court can attach any number of conditions to release.  These will include not committing any additional crimes, no use of drugs or alcohol, drug testing, reporting to pre-trial monitoring.  In some instances, the court may order home detention, restrict access to electronic devices, day reporting, limit travel, and allow or searches of the defendant’s property when warranted.

If you or a loved one is facing federal charges, the detention hearing if there is one, will happen very quickly.  Contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower at (317) 870-0019 to discuss your options and to schedule a free consultation.