How the Bond Process Works in GeorgiaWritten on August 15, 2014
If you are arrested, whether on a citation or a criminal warrant, you may be assigned a bond. A bond is a dollar figure, set by a judge, which allows you to leave jail until you are scheduled for court. The bond is meant to be an incentive for you to show up for your court date. If you fail to go to court, the money you paid will be forfeited.
The amount of the bond depends on the charge. If you are arrested for driving on a suspended license, criminal trespass or possession of a small amount of marijuana, your bond may only be $1,000. For more serious crimes, like aggravated assault or other felonies, the bond may be upwards of $10,000 or more. The initial dollar figure the judge assigns, however, isn’t set in stone. An attorney can work on your behalf to have your bond lowered or even have you released without having to pay a bond.
Judges are required to follow guidelines when setting a bond. A judge can’t give you a $10,000 bond on a traffic citation just because he/she feels like it. There are guidelines to follow; however, judges do have some flexibility. The court also has the ability to issue a signature bond, which is also known as “being released on your own recognizance”. Under this bond, a defendant is allowed to sign himself/herself out of jail without having to pay any money.
Those who are arrested and don’t bond immediately out will go before a judge at a First Appearance hearing. This type of hearing, which isn’t about guilt or innocence, is designed to make sure the defendant understands his or her rights and has an appropriate bond. Just like any other court appearance, you should be represented by counsel when you go before the judge.
If you are charged with a felony, the bond will be higher. In most cases, the Magistrate Judge at the First Appearance hearing will not alter a felony bond. Instead, the case will be bound over to Superior Court where a hearing may be scheduled before a judge. If you can’t afford to post bond, you may wait weeks or months to even have a bond hearing. An attorney, however, can petition the court to expedite the process and get you before a judge much quicker. If you are initially held without a bond, an experienced attorney can petition the court and possibly have a bond set. That way you are able to regain your freedom, spend time with your family and go back to your normal life.
If you need assistance with a bond hearing, or any other legal situation, call The Silverbach Group without delay. Our experienced attorneys are available for immediate consultation and assistance. You can reach us at (770) 635-0334.