Standards for Setting Bail
The standards for granting bail bond in Georgia are based on the 1968 American
Bar Association pretrial release standards. A person may be released
on bail if he:
Poses no significant risk of fleeing;
Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, the
community, or to property;
Poses no significant risk of committing any felony; and
Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise
Defendant's Burden of Proof
The Georgia Supreme Court has held that, although the state must
persuade the trial court by a preponderance of the evidence that the
accused is not entitled to pretrial release, the defendant
nevertheless has the initial burden of showing he poses no
significant risk of flight, threat to the community, of committing
another offense, or intimidating witnesses.
The defendant must show ties to the community, employment status and
history, history of responding to legal process, and prior criminal
record. The State can then rebut this evidence. According to the
Supreme Court, if the defendantís evidence lacks quality, the State
may not have to present evidence to carry its burden of persuasion.
This means, of course, that you will have to present some evidence
on your clientís behalf. It could mean he will have to testify to
establish his ties to the community, or perhaps you could call
family members to testify as to defendantís ties, his work history,
and his abundant good deeds. If the judge is sufficiently impressed
at this point, donít forget to request a bond that your client has
reasonable expectations of making.
Terms and Conditions of Bail Bond
The Courtís have held that ďin lieu of setting a higher bail . . . a
trial court may choose to impose reasonable restrictions on a
defendantís behavior.Ē If you think getting the judge to grant a
bond is doubtful, and since the judge can impose restrictive
conditions to bond anyway, why not propose conditions on your own.
In jurisdictions where itís available, I like to propose a home
confinement condition. Make sure your client can afford this
alternative. Presumably he has a job and can afford the home
If youíve done everything you can reasonably do and your client
still ends up with no bond or a bond he cannot make, go ahead and
file a speedy trial demand the instant the accusatory document is
filed with the clerk.
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