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Getting Released on Bail in Charlottesville or Albemarle, Virginia

Jan. 13, 2023

Bail is the procedure used in the criminal court system to temporarily release people from custody while they wait for trial. Bail isn't a punishment; instead, it's a way to ensure the defendant will show up for their court appearances and safeguard public safety.

An Overview of Virginia Code § 19.2–120

The bail statute is Va. Code 19.2-120. The statute describes the conditions under which a court may provide bail to a defendant, as well as the criteria that the court must consider wen evaluating whether to grant bail.

The court may mandate a defendant's release on bail under the statute if the defendant is likely to appear in court and does not constitute a threat to the public. The court will consider the following factors, among other things, when deciding whether to grant bail:

1.     Ties to the community,

2.     Employment history,

3.     Criminal history,

4.     Seriousness of the offense,

5.     Whether a firearm is alleged to be involved in the offense.

Virginia Bail Process

The bail process starts when a suspect is detained, charged with a crime, and brought before a judge or magistrate. After considering the accused’s circumstances and criminal history, the court or magistrate will decide whether to give bail and, if so, how much.

The judge or magistrate will consider elements such as the seriousness of the offense the defendant is accused of, the defendant's ties to the community, and the probability that the defendant would become a risk to the community if released on bond.

A defendant may obtain a bail bond from a registered bail bond agent if they cannot pay the full bail sum. A bail bond is a special insurance coverage for which the defendant makes a premium payment and ensures payment of the bail sum in case the defendant misses their court appearances.

What are my Chances for Getting Bail in Charlottesville or Albemarle, Virginia?

It depends on the jurisdiction where you’re charged and the particular judge who hears your case. Some judges are more liberal in granting defendants bail than other.

In the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, it can be difficult to get bail if you’re charged with a violent felony or an offense that involves a firearm. It is also difficult to get bail in cases involved felony sex offenses. If you have a history of DUIs, it can be difficult to get bail if you’ve been charged with another DUI. Finally, if you have a failure to appear conviction on your record or are currently on probation or on bail for another offense, it will be difficult to get bail.

It's important to take your time in preparing for a bail hearing. Hiring an attorney is important. Your attorney will need time to gather all the relevant information to present to the court.