Criminal Defendants on Trial – In Jail and Out on Bond

October 7, 2009 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Criminal Court, bail bonds

By Ira Still –

You have a constitutional right to silence. This is found in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Never give a written or verbal statement to the police. Their job is to get you talking. If you volunteer to speak to anyone, you waive your right to silence and what you say to them will be admitted into evidence in front of the jury at trial.

What Should I Do While in Jail?

When you get to the jail everyone in there will ask you one question, “What are you in for?” Do not talk to them about the facts of your case. The other inmates are facing their own serious charges. If you talk to them, they may inform the prosecutor and become a witness against you. That might earn them probation for informing against you. That is known as “substantial assistance.”

Let me tell you a story about Andrew who lost his case because of jail inmates who sought to perform substantial assistance just to benefit themselves. Andrew was arrested for premeditated murder. While in the county jail, two inmates tried to get him talking about his case after they saw the story on the local T.V and read articles in the newspaper. Unfortunately, Andrew discussed his case with them. Of course, the inmates contacted the State Attorney’s Office. Although Andrew did not confess to them, they added to what he had said dramatizing it to sound as if he had admitted guilt.

Your discussions over the jail phone can be overheard by the other inmates. Be careful not to talk to your family or friends about the facts of your case. The State is going to reward the other inmates for what they hear you say. In addition, you do not want to make your family and friends witnesses against you.

What is a Bond?

Within 24 hours of your arrest you must be brought before a Magistrate to determine, among other things, what will be the terms of your pretrial release. The old English term for this is being admitted to bail. There are some very serious offenses listed in the statutes that do not permit an accused to be admitted to bail without a special hearing in front of the trial court judge. For most offenses, however, you will be admitted to bail and then you can obtain release while your case proceeds through the courts. Here are some of the different forms of release:

Pre-Trial Release: If this is your first offense and you have strong ties to the community you may be enrolled in this program. It does not require money but you may have an ankle monitor requiring you to stay at home when you are not at your employment. You might have no monitor but have to phone in to the office each day or each week for an interview. You might have to go to the office before attending court hearings.

Signature Bond: This is used often in the federal courts but less often in state courts. With this, you would sign a promissory note for an amount such as $100,000. If you fail to appear, the court can automatically get your money and property up to that amount. When the case is fully over, this bond is simply released. There is no bondsman hence no fee for his services.

Property Bond: This (too) is used more often in the federal courts but less often in state courts. With this, you or a family member would put their real estate up with the court as a form of bond. There is no bondsman fee for this. If you fail to show up for court, that person automatically loses their house or land. However if you do appear for all your court dates, when the case is fully over, this bond is simply released. There is no bondsman hence no fee for his services.

Cash Bond: The court sets an amount of money sufficient to assure that you will appear in court for each hearing. Your family can deposit the full amount of cash to secure your release. When your case is fully over, they get 100% of their cash back. There are no handling fees. If you don’t show up, the cash bond is taken by the State.

Bail Bondsman: A surety bondsman, who is in the business of writing bonds and assuring the court that if you don’t’ show up for court they will hunt you down and bring you in [dead or alive, by the way], meets with your family and sets up the bond for you. He will charge 10% of the bond amount as his fee for these services. In federal court he charges 15% as his fee. He also requires security on the balance such as a lien on a house, title to a car, expensive jewelry, or a cash deposit. If you fail to show up, this secured property is forfeited. If you do show up, when your case is fully over your family gets the security back but they do not get the 10% or 15% fee back. That is kept by the bondsman. Most state courts seem to prefer the cash bond or the use of a bail bondsman.

How Do I Get a Bond?

Provided your offense is bondable by statute, the jail will set the bond from the standardized amount list when you are booked. Your family can then post the cash bond or go through a bail bondsman to get you out within hours. Have your family contact an attorney to help them arrange for the bond.

While out on bond, make sure you don’t get into any further trouble with the law while your case is pending. If you have driver license problems correct them or don’t drive. Read and follow the terms of the bond (no alcohol or firearms, etc.). Be on time and don’t miss any court hearings or you could be arrested. If you get arrested on another charge, the State will revoke your bond and hold you in jail until your trial is completed.

Whether you are in jail or out on bond, you should use this time to take stock of your life. There is an old adage that goes like this: “If you want your life to change, you have to change.” Be ready to make new and better habits. Be ready to make new and better friends. Do it now! Find a strong church or synagogue with groups of people your own age. Get involved. Be ready to face the judge as a new person.

The day of your jury trial is approaching fast. So, hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Let the Defense Team investigate the facts and evidence and prepare your case for your best success.

For more helpful information on success strategies for a person charged with a crime, contact

Ira Still, Esquire


Info Blog:

Ira Still has been a criminal defense trial lawyer in Florida for over 30 years. He successfully represents his clients on all crimes and in all courts. Ira has had many, many jury trials and is well known in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale as a very successful trial and appellate lawyer. He has argued death penalty collateral appeals in the Florida Supreme Court and in various District Courts of Appeal. Ira has tried high profile cases such as police shooting a person and persons charged with shooting police; capital murder and capital sexual battery; violent crimes; drug trafficking; and virtually every other criminal charge. Ira Still is also an author, speaker, teacher, mentor and coach.

© 2009 Law Offices of Ira Still

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One Response to “Criminal Defendants on Trial – In Jail and Out on Bond”
  1. Great info, thanks for useful article. I am waiting for more

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