How To Get Bond In Federal Court
Criminal Defense Attorney
The question of bond is one of the most important questions in the early stages of a federal criminal case. At the initial appearance, a federal magistrate judge decides if an individual accused of a federal crime will be released pending the judicial proceedings or whether that defendant will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Timeline of Events
Every federal case starts with an investigation. If the investigation leads to suspects and target persons, law enforcement agencies, such as FBI or DEA agents, may get an arrest warrant signed by a federal judge. As soon as that warrant is executed and the person arrested, the defendant will be held in custody and will be presented to a Pretrial Services Officer. This officer will gather initial information about the detainee, such as their personal and financial background. Next, federal law requires a decision by a judge, typically a U.S. magistrate judge, as to whether or not the defendant needs to stay in custody or can be released pending their case. The court will also decide whether or not to appoint an attorney at this initial appearance.
Difference to State Court
Fundamentally, federal and state courts differ in various ways. Bail, for example, is one of these differences. Bail bondsmen are rare in federal court. Rather than setting monetary incentives to guarantee a person’s return to future court hearings, federal courts impose pretrial conditions that ensure compliance with court orders. These conditions usually involve an order not to violate any state or federal law pending the case, passing drug tests, and reporting to U.S. probation officers.
Federal Law Only
The attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C. have decades of trial and government experience that includes distinct careers with the Department of Justice. Our background as former federal prosecutors allows us to anticipate the government’s arguments and to analyze a case through the prosecutor’s perspective while putting together an efficient defense strategy.
Nature of the Offense
First and foremost, the magistrate judge in charge will look at the offense accused of. For example, misdemeanors and non-violent crimes (e.g. fraud, non-violent drug charges) may well result in pre-trial release. By contrast, offenses against children, offenses that involve violence, offenses that involve the possession or use of a firearm or similar destructive device or dangerous weapon, crimes with a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more, or offenses for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, and serious violations of the Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act are more likely to result in pre-trial detention.
The Individual’s Criminal Past
The magistrate judge will have a detailed record of an individual’s criminal background, including all state and federal crimes accused of, convicted of, or pled guilty to in the past. It’s no surprise that the longer that list is and the more similar items the list contains, the higher the chance that the judge will consider custody appropriate.
Likelihood of Future Offenses Pending the Continuation of the Case
The level of risk that this individual presents to either flee the country or to obstruct justice by, for example, threatening, injuring, intimidating, manipulating or tampering with witnesses, jurors, or evidence is another concern the magistrate judge will examine before releasing or detaining an individual at the initial appearance hearing.
Recent Pre-Trial Victories
Federal Drug Conspiracy
Client had long history of assault charges, domestic violence charges, drug related offenses, and was considered a federal fugitive – Bond Secured, No Bail Amount
Federal Bribery Charges
Client had financial resources and ties to foreign country; we negated the flight risk argument – Bond Secured, No Bail Amount
Federal Theft Charges
Client lacked employment, lacked firm residency, and judge ruled on detention before we could convince the court to change the order – Bond Secured, No Bail Amount
Direct Line: 888-680-1745
Dr. Nick Oberheiden, founder of Oberheiden P.C., focuses his litigation practice on white-collar criminal defense, government investigations, SEC & FCPA enforcement, and commercial litigation.