How Do I Get out On Bond in Virginia?
March 13, 2017
Before a judge will give you a bond in Virginia, he has to decide whether you're a flight risk and whether you're a danger to the community. If the judge believes there's probably cause that you'll pose a risk to the community or that you won't show up for your next court hearing, he can deny you a bond. The statute in Virginia that governs bond is Va. Code 19.2-120.
Are You a Flight Risk?
If you don't have ties to the community and you've only lived in the jurisdiction for a short time, it is harder to get bond. And even if you do get a bond, there's a good chance that your bond will be very restrictive. You'll probably be forbidden from leaving the Commonwealth of Virginia and you'll be required to post a significant amount of money. Also, if you have convictions for failing to appear in court on your record, a judge is more likely to find that you're a flight risk.
Are You a Danger to The Community?
Judges decide whether you're a danger to the community by looking at the facts of your current charge and your criminal history. If your current charge is for a violent offense or if you have a lengthy criminal record, a judge is less likely to grant you a bond. During the bond hearing, the prosecutor can read the police report outlining the facts of your case. Even if some of the things in the police report are untrue, it's very unlikely that you'll be able to convince the judge at that stage that the report is incorrect.
The Presumption Against Bond
In Virginia, certain offenses have a presumption against bond. That means the judge will not give you a bond unless you can prove that you're not a flight risk or danger to the community. A presumption against bond means that the government doesn't bear the burden of proof. You have to present evidence in order to rebut the presumption. Most of the offenses that have a presumption against bond are violent or firearm related offenses.
It's important to have a criminal defense attorney at your bond hearing to make sure that your rights are protected. You should at least consult with an attorney before attempting a bond hearing.