Last year, the State of Colorado made a landmark decision regarding criminal law and bail bonds in the state. The bill, passed by unanimous vote, states that low-level offenders cannot be held in jails due to the inability to afford bail.
During the current coronavirus outbreak, this is reassurance for many people. The last place you want to be is stuck in a confined space with other potentially infected people.
If arrested, however, understanding the bail bonds system is the key to securing your release.
Colorado House Bill 1225
The State of Colorado passed House Bill 1225 following the death of an inmate held on a low-level offense. Right now, people charged with similar petty charges, traffic charges, or municipal charges, cannot be held on bond.
This bill has played an especially important role in the current COVID-19 crisis. Jails and prions around the country are being affected by the unprecedented speed of the spread of this virus. It is in large part due to the lack of social distancing associated with confinement.
Another dangerous component? Guards and new inmates regularly entering the jail from the outside without proper testing.
House Bill 1225 is one way to alleviate some traffic. Having fewer inmates stuck for long periods in confinement decreases the chance of an outbreak occurring.
In the meantime, if you have been charged with a crime more significant than a Class 3 misdemeanor, the bail bond process is going to be your safest bet.
Bail Bonds in the State of Colorado
A bail bond is a form of payment to the court system on your behalf. The money acts as insurance that you make all of your court appearances.
If you do show up to court when needed, the money you paid in is returned. On the other hand, if you fail to meet your court appearances, the money is forfeited.
In most cases, the amount of money involved in securing bail is more than most people have on hand. This is where a bail bondsman comes in. They pay the money to the court to secure your release in return for a fee.
In the state of Colorado, the courts set the amount for each defendant’s bail. Each county has different stipulations surrounding the bail amounts. Factors considered include:
- Prior criminal history
- Perceived danger to the community
- Flight risk
- Ties to the community
After your arrest, you will appear before a judge for a bond hearing. At this point, the judge will assess your case and determine the amount of bail to set.
An experienced Colorado attorney will usually be able to get this amount reduced to the lowest possible figure to help secure your release with the least financial burden.
You Aren’t Required to Have a Colorado Attorney, But You Might Want One
Having an attorney present during the bond hearing is not required. In many cases, a public defender is assigned. Still, it can be of great benefit to have an experienced attorney already working with you before the bail hearing. Here’s why…
An experienced criminal defense attorney works on two parts of your case at once. The immediate assistance with your bail bond helps keep the bond amount to a minimum. In the meantime, they are working in the background on a proper defense strategy.
Gaining case background with every interaction, your attorney is better armed to have any extra stipulations, such as GPS monitoring, removed, as well.
During these uncertain times, with COVID-19 being a primary concern in jails across the country, the last place you want to be is inside a prison. Do what you can to stay safe, and away from a packed cell!
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.