Warrants, Bonds, and Pre-Trial Release

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In an effort to encourage trial judges to release those arrested of alleged crimes earlier, reduce expenses and overuse of jail resources, enable those arrested to return to their jobs and provide support for their families, and eliminate the unfair incarceration of those who cannot afford a bail, the Indiana Supreme Court adopted Criminal Rule 26.

Criminal Rule 26 could completely change the bail/bond process courts use. Instead of assigning bond amounts to those accused of crimes based off the crime charged, Indiana courts are going to begin using “Evidence Based Decision Making” practices. What this means is that courts are going to take a look at a variety of factors about the accused individual including their criminal history, employment status, last completed level of education, family and social support, any potential substance abuse or mental health issues, attitude in court, and behavioral patterns.

The main goal for courts in inquiring into these factors is to determine if the accused presents a substantial risk of flight or danger to themselves or others. If the accused does not present a risk to either goal, the court “should release the arrestee without money bail or surety” subject to a few conditions. Essentially, this means courts are going to be releasing more individuals on their own recognizance, or without having to pay a bond, if the court determines they do not present a risk to either goal. The only exception to this new practice will be those charged with murder or treason, if the accused individual is already on pre-trial release for another unrelated arrest, or if the accused individual is on probation, parole or another community supervision.

According to the Indiana Supreme Court’s September 7, 2016 press release, Allen, Bartholomew, Hamilton, Hendricks, Jefferson, Monroe, St. Joseph, Starke, and Tipton counties have immediately began putting this practice into work. The rest of the state will begin the practice on January 1, 2018.
Although it is great that the Indiana court system is going to take a closer at the accused individual, what are you supposed to do if you do get a bond or warrant levied against you?

Surrendering on a Warrant

One frequent question we take on an almost daily basis is someone who has an active warrant, wants to take care of it, but is afraid of turning themselves in due to not knowing what could happen once incarcerated. When you surrender yourself to a court or jail when you have an active warrant, you get taken in by jail staff and then set for an initial hearing in front of a judge. The judge is who will determine the bond and set the next hearing.

If this sounds like a situation you are in, you are going to want to talk to an attorney experienced in your local court and jail system. The reason why is, in our experience, each county has a different approach to handling warrants. Some counties have certain days in which they transport inmates for initial hearings. For instance, if the county only handles initial hearings on Mondays and Wednesdays and you turn yourself in on a Thursday, you could be stuck incarcerated until the following Monday! Other counties allow individuals to submit themselves in open court without ever having to be arrested or taken to jail. This is why it is incredibly important to speak with an attorney who has handled cases all across the state and understands the procedures of each county.

Handling Different Bonds

The way the previous bond schedule worked is the judge would set it based off the severity of the alleged offense charged and any history of past failure to appear in court. The judge could then order a cash bond, a surety bond, or both. A cash bond is the exact amount of money someone would have to put up for the accused to get out of pre-trial incarceration or jail. However, once the case is concluded, you typically get all of the cash bond money back, after the court takes out the court costs, fines, fees and any other fees associated with the case. A surety bond is typically a much higher bond that requires an individual to contract with a bail bond agency to put the money up for them. Typically, you have to pail the bond agency 10 percent of the bond for the agency to put the money up or you, and you won’t get in of that money given to the bond agency back.

Although the way cash and surety bonds work are not changing, the frequency of their use is likely to given the passing of this new rule.

If you or a loved one are stuck in a situation where you have an outstanding warrant, it is imperative you contact an attorney who knows how to navigate the justice system so you don’t go incarcerated unnecessarily for an extended period of time. The criminal defense attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC have handled cases all across the state and know the easiest way to submit an individual based off the county their case is out of. We are available 24/7/365 for your questions so give them a call at (317) 870-0019 or email us at info@banksbrower.com if you find yourself in a similar situation.