Understanding Bail and Bonds in Virginia

Image of hundred dollar bills, handcuffs, and a legal gavel

Some criminal cases in Virginia take a long time to proceed, and as a defendant in a criminal case, you likely recognize the obvious benefits of remaining free on bail as you prepare for your day in court. While the court may grant bail with a number of restrictions and requirements in place, this is still preferable to being in police custody while you await trial.

Virginia has complicated rules regarding bail and bonds. Thankfully, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and advocate for your release on bail.

Bail vs. Bond: What’s the Difference?

Bail is the term for the pretrial release of an accused person provided they obey a set of rules and restrictions established by the court. These restrictions limit your freedom of movement, require you to maintain your employment or educational obligations, abstain from drugs and alcohol, and more, and are imposed based on the court’s discretion. The granting of bail may be conditional upon payment of an amount of money dictated by the court, known as a bail bond.

A secured bond is the actual payment of this money, either by using your own financial resources or by going through a third party, such as a bail bond company. The payment is typically a percentage of a larger amount, and this smaller percentage is paid with a written promise of payment of the full amount if the accused violates any of the terms of their bail.

Bonds may also be unsecured. In this case, the accused receives pretrial release on the condition of payment in the event they violate the conditions of their bail.

Who Can Get Bail in Virginia?

The Code of Virginia specifies the general rules regarding who qualifies for bail and under what circumstances. Individuals are generally eligible for bail unless the court determines they’re a danger to themselves and/or the public or a potential flight risk. However, they must meet certain conditions first, especially if they have more complex legal histories. For example, if you’ve been arrested for a felony and have previous felony convictions, you might only be released on a secured bond. This requirement might also apply if you’re currently on bond for another case or you’re on probation or parole.

Judicial officers in Virginia have the authority to set specific conditions for your release pending trial. These conditions might include supervision by a designated person or organization, restrictions on your travel and associations, and even being subject to a curfew.

What Happens If You Don’t Show Up in Court?

If you fail to show up in court after being released on bail, the court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This means law enforcement will be actively looking to bring you back to court. Additionally, you risk losing your bond money. If someone else paid your bail bond, this exposes them to financial losses and other challenges. Failure to appear in court can also lead to more severe penalties and complicate your existing case.

How Our Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You Qualify for Bail

The experienced and knowledgeable Fairfax, VA criminal defense attorneys at Surovell, Isaacs & Levy, PLC, understand the stress associated with facing criminal charges and want to make the process more straightforward. We’ll work to secure your pretrial release and advocate for favorable bail conditions. During the pretrial phase and throughout your criminal proceedings, our team will work to achieve the most favorable outcome possible for you. Contact us today or complete our online form to get started with a confidential initial consultation.

Posted in: Criminal Law