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Bail Process Part 2: What is the bail process for federal charges?

Posted By: On behalf of J. Kevin Stockstill, Attorney At Law // On:

In a federal case, the bail process differs from the state process in that there is no set bail schedule – and there are a number of other differences as outlined below.

1) If arrested on a federal charge, you must be taken before a U.S. Magistrate for bail to be set. This may occur on the same day as the arrest but must happen no later than the next court day.

2) At the courthouse, the defendant is interviewed by a Pretrial Services Officer who will investigate the arrestee’s background including employment, financial, family and community ties. A recommendation will then be made to the Magistrate on the matter of bail. Facts about the case will not be discussed during this investigation.

3) Under the Federal Bail Reform Act, a person considered to be either a flight risk or a danger to the community can be held with no bail.

4) Flight risk is often found in cases involving non-citizens, especially in large-scale narcotics cases. Danger to the community is often found in cases involving weapons, organized crime, gang-related activity or people with extensive criminal records.

5) It’s important to know that your attorney can try and continue your bail hearing so that you will be better prepared to respond to allegations such as flight risk or threat to the community. A skilled, experienced attorney can be key to helping you in these situations by arguing effectively on your behalf.

6) In serious cases, the government may seek detention (no bail). If the Magistrate denies bail, you can appeal to a District Court Judge, which takes two to three days.

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