Q: How Does the Court Decide a Bond Motion in Fairfax County?
Upon a new arrest, folks may be held in jail until a Judge or magistrate sets bond. For more serious charges, the court will require certain assurances to protect the public and to make sure the client comes to court for his trial.
Certain offenses will have a "presumption" of no bond, but the Court will consider many factors in determining bond.
The statute below describes the presumptions against Bond, but experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Attorneys will always remind the Court of the Constitutional right to a reasonable bond pending trial, based on the presumption of innocence.
§ 19.2-120. Admission to bail
Prior to conducting any hearing on the issue of bail, release or detention, the judicial officer shall, to the extent feasible, obtain the person's criminal history.
A. A person who is held in custody pending trial or hearing for an offense, civil or criminal contempt, or otherwise shall be admitted to bail by a judicial officer, unless there is probable cause to believe that:
1. He will not appear for trial or hearing or at such other time and place as may be directed, or
2. His liberty will constitute an unreasonable danger to himself or the public.
B. The judicial officer shall presume, subject to rebuttal, that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person or the safety of the public if the person is currently charged with:
1. An act of violence as defined in § 19.2-297.1;
2. An offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death;
3. A violation of § 18.2-248, 18.2-248.01, 18.2-255, or 18.2-255.2 involving a Schedule I or II controlled substance if (i) the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or more and the person was previously convicted of a like offense or (ii) the person was previously convicted as a "drug kingpin" as defined in § 18.2-248;
An attorney preparing for a bond motion will want to consider many factors that may be of interest to the Court, including the client's work history, stability in the community. Here are the factors the court looks at when determining when to reconsider bond:
D. The court shall consider the following factors and such others as it deems appropriate in determining, for the purpose of rebuttal of the presumption against bail described in subsection B, whether there are conditions of release that will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of the public:
1. The nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
2. The history and characteristics of the person, including his character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, membership in a criminal street gang as defined in § 18.2-46.1, and record concerning appearance at court proceedings; and
3. The nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the person's release.