A bail review is a formal proceeding in which a District or Circuit Court judge makes a determination as to whether or not a Defendant should be released into the community pending trial. At a bail review, a judge considers many different factors regarding the Defendant’s release. Whether the Defendant poses a danger to himself/herself, the alleged victim (if any), and the community and whether the Defendant poses a flight risk are the primary factors that a judge considers. However, many other factors are considered as well that are outlined in Md. Rule 4-216.1.
The Dangerousness and Flight Risk Factors
As mentioned above, a judge is primarily concerned about the safety of the Defendant and public and whether the Defendant will show up to court if he or she is released pre-trial. For that reason, the judge will consider any information at a bail review that reflects upon the dangerousness of the Defendant and whether he or she poses a flight risk.
In determining whether the Defendant poses a danger to himself or herself, the alleged victim (if any), and the community, a judge will look at several key pieces of information during a bail review. First, the judge will review the charge(s) and alleged facts of the case to see if there is any apparent suggestion that the Defendant may be dangerous. For example, an allegation that the Defendant committed a violent crime with a weapon would suggest that the Defendant poses a danger to the community if released. Next, the judge will consider the Defendant’s criminal record (if any) to see if the Defendant has any prior convictions for a violent offense. Lastly, the judge may inquire about any mental health concerns regarding the Defendant.
The judge may believe that the Defendant poses a flight risk and will not appear for court if he or she has failed to appear for court, also known as an FTA, on previous occasions. However, a valid explanation for why the Defendant may have missed a court appearance on a particular occasion may be presented to the judge for consideration. A judge will also consider the Defendant’s ties or connections to the State of Maryland; such as family members who reside in the State, the Defendant’s employment, the Defendant’s length of residency in the State, and where the Defendant resides.
Other Factors Considered at a Bail Review
While dangerousness of the Defendant and whether the Defendant poses a flight risk are the predominant factors that are considered at a bail review, Md. Rule 4-216.1 requires the judge to consider other factors as well. In Baltimore County, MD the judge will consider a risk assessment score given to the Defendant by pre-trial services. A higher score means that a Defendant poses a greater if released while a lower score suggests that the Defendant does not pose as much of a risk. The judge will consider the recommendation, if any, of the State’s Attorney’s Office. Lastly, but not all inclusively, the judge will consider any other information presented by the Defendant’s attorney.
Baltimore County, MD Bail Review Attorney
A bail review is an important proceeding that should be taken seriously because the outcome has a serious effect on a Defendant’s freedom prior to his or her trial. For that reason, it is important to hire an experienced Baltimore County, MD criminal defense attorney to represent you at your bail review if you choose to retain private counsel. Contact our office today for free consultation with our principal attorney if you or a loved one has a bail review coming up and need representation. During a free consultation, our principal attorney will explain the bail review process, discuss the various factors that the judge will consider, and gather the information needed to present the best possible case in favor of pre-trial release.
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