Getting Out On Bond And Getting Your Bond Lowered In An Alabama Criminal Case
A bond in an Alabama criminal case is governed by the Alabama Code and the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure.
There are four general types of bond in Alabama criminal court.
CASH BOND / BAIL – Cash bond is when the defendant or some person on behalf of the defendant deposits cash in an amount equal to a part or the total sum of the bond as set by the judicial officer. The cash is deposited with the court clerk. The money is held by the clerk until the case is over. If the case is dismissed or you are acquitted, you will receive the money back. At times, the money can be used to pay all or a portion of a fine.
JUDICIAL PUBLIC BOND / BAIL – Judicial public bond is the release of any defendant without any condition of an undertaking relating to, or a deposit of, security. This is sometimes called a “recognizance bond” or a “signature bond.” The bond is your promise to pay a sum of money in the event that you fail to appear to dispose of your case. This type of bond is given in cases where the amount of bond is low.
PROFESSIONAL SURETY BOND / BAIL – Professional surety bond is when a defendant is released on bond by having a professional surety or professional bail bond company sign a bond on behalf of the defendant. THe bail bondsman will charge a percentage of the total amount of your bond as a non-returnable fee. The amount can vary depending on the circumstances, but typically this amount is 10% to 15%.
PROPERTY BOND / BAIL – Property bond is when a defendant is released on bond by having at least one or more property owners that own property in the State of Alabama, execute or become bond or surety for the defendant. The property and the property owners must meet certain requirements, including a value of the property being at least the amount of the bond. You can make a property bond in one Alabama county with property in another Alabama county. However, you must go through the local sheriff or court clerk in the county where the property is located.
How is the amount of bond and conditions of bond set
Alabama courts use a set list of factors to set the amount of bond and the conditions of bond in a criminal case. The following factors are considered by the court:
- The age, background and family ties, relationships and circumstances of the defendant.
- The defendant’s reputation, character, and health.
- The defendant’s prior criminal record, including prior releases on recognizance or on secured appearance bonds, and other pending cases.
- The identity of responsible members of the community who will vouch for the defendant’s reliability.
- Violence or lack of violence in the alleged commission of the offense.
- The nature of the offense charged, the apparent probability of conviction, and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance.
- The type of weapon used, e.g., knife, pistol, shotgun, sawed-off shotgun.
- Threats made against victims and/or witnesses.
- The value of property taken during the alleged commission of the offense.
- Whether the property allegedly taken was recovered or not; damage or lack of damage to property allegedly taken.
- Residence of the defendant, including consideration of real property ownership, and length of residence in his or her place of domicile.
- In cases where the defendant is charged with a drug offense, evidence of selling or pusher activity should indicate a substantial increase in the amount of bond.
- Consideration of the defendant’s employment status and history, the location of defendant’s employment, e.g., whether employed in the county where the alleged offense occurred, and the defendant’s financial condition.
- Any enhancement statutes related to the charged offense.
ALABAMA BOND / BAIL SCHEDULE
Alabama also used a Bond / Bail Schedule as a rough guide for setting the amount of bond. The schedule is not binding on the court. A judge can set a higher or lower bond at its discretion depending on the circumstances. The schedule is set out below:
- Capital felony $50,000 to No Bail Allowed
- Murder $15,000 to $75,000
- Class A felony $10,000 to $60,000
- Class B felony $5,000 to $30,000
- Class C felony $2,500 to $15,000
- Drug manufacturing and trafficking $5,000 to $1,500,000
- Class A misdemeanor $300 to $6,000
- Class B misdemeanor $300 to $3,000
- Class C misdemeanor $300 to $1,000
- Violation $300 to $500
- Municipal Ordinance
- Violations $300 to $1,000