These sample bail bond related criminal law motions are typically filed in a felony criminal case. A felony criminal case could take anywhere between a year to three years depending on the complexity of the charges. Along the way, both the prosecution and the defense have opportunities to file motions related to the bail bond and the bond conditions. Remember, bond conditions are the restrictions that a defendant has to follow after posting a bond and being released.
As a prosecutor, I definitely filed my fair share of these types of motions. As a defense attorney, I filed even more.
These sample bail bond related criminal law motions are presented for the current practitioner’s library. The current practitioner should feel free to copy and download these samples. The motions can be viewed in the viewer embedded in this article.
Sample Bail Bond Related Criminal Law Motions
A brief explanation of each of the motions provides a great insight into the inner workings of today’s criminal justice system. These sample bail bond related criminal law motions are not filed in every case. The type and number of motions filed depend on the complexity and length of the case. For now, lets take a peak at the material I have provided –
Prosecutor Oriented Motions
Additional Conditions of Bond
Aside from the actual charging documents, the first motions filed the prosecution almost always are of this variety. The prosecutor usually is asking for additional conditions or requirements that the defendant be forced to follow when he is released on bond. Usually, the requirements are to avoid having any contact with the victim. A defendant may also be prevented from returning a specific place. These conditions, are basically court orders. They are intended to limit the defendant’s behavior in some way.
Forfeiture of Bail
If a defendant fails to return to court, you bet the prosecuting attorney is going to file a motion to forfeit bail bond. This is a request to the court to take any bail bond money that was paid when the defendant was released. Besides the issuing of a warrant, this is another effective way to enforce the defendant’s obligation to return to court. This is where the defendant’s friends and family enter the picture to make sure defendant makes it to court. They don’t want to lose the money they lent him! Having a bail forfeited also means the person has to go back to jail. A second payment of bail bond may be available to get out again. But usually the prosecutor is not done filing bail bond related motions.
Increase Bail After EHM Violation
When the prosecution learns of violations of the bail bond conditions, there is a series of motions filed before the court. The very first motion is described above. They go after the money. Then they use a second motion to increase the bail. Increasing the bail, means that the person has to put up more money to remain free. If they can’t raise the additional funds, then they get detained. Typically, the prosecutor outlines the alleged violations then asks the court to raise the bail. If the defendant returns to court to address these motions, he may be taken into custody after the hearing. After a defendant has his bail forfeited it means he has to go back in, unless he can pay a second bail. But if the prosecutor manages to raise the second bail, usually the defendant is unable to pay it. This means he is going back to a cell.
Increase Bail After EHM Violation & Issue a Warrant
This motion is not much different from the one above. If the defendant is truly on the run, then the motions proceed to hearing without him. The defense attorney is left to argue the merits of the motions without the client. That’s never a good situation for victory. If the accused is not at the hearing the prosecutor needs to ask for a warrant. Once the warrant is issued then the defendant truly becomes a fugitive of justice.
Increase Bail After a New Misdemeanor Offense
You can probably see a pattern here. The prosecution is always asking to increase the bail. That is basically how it goes. What changes are the reasons why they want a higher bail. It is always serious when a court’s bond conditions are violated. However, when the State is alleging that the accused has committed a new offense, while on bond, that is seriousness on a different level. As a prosecutor, I found it really persuasive to file a motion that highlighted the commission of a new misdemeanor offense. When you tell a judge that this guy is committing new crimes, it is impossible for the judge to do nothing.
Revoke Bail After New Forcible Felony
You’ll notice all the prior motions were to “increase” bail. That is because the law is very picky about making sure that an individual have a “right” to bail. A person, basically, always has a right to a bail. There must always be some dollar amount value that can be paid to win release. It is in the Constitution. I discuss all this in my bail bond articles. When there is an allegation that the defendant has committed a new forcible felony. It is game over. A prosecutor who is on his toes, will file this motion at the first sign of the new offense. They don’t need to wait for a formal arrest on the new charge or even for the investigation on the new case to be completed. If they establish probable cause that a new offense has been committed, that person is going to be detained fast.
Defense Oriented Motions
Reduce Bail (Long Form)
You guessed it! If the prosecution is trying to raise the bail, then the defense attorney is trying to lower it. Always. In any case where the client has not posted bail for their release, the motion to reduce bail is going to be the first motion a criminal defense attorney is going to file in the case. In my practice, I had a “long” form and a “short” form in my arrisinal. If this was the second time I was trying to lower a bail, then the “long” form was required to really lay out what has changed. Also, if I knew a case was going to catch some news then it got the long form because I found that reporters always went through the court file and reported on the filings.
Reduce Bail (Short Form)
This was the more common motion to file. In a high volume court call, judges don’t have time to review lengthy motions. The motion itself really is just served as a procedural tool. Filing the motion gets the case on the judge’s docket and puts the prosecutor on notice that you’re asking for a lower bail. The short form is all that is needed for that. Once in court, the oral arguments on motions to reduce bail is where the game is won or lost.
Motion to Modify Bond Conditions
Ok, when your client has posted bail and he is free, there is always going to be some type of restriction on his freedom. Usually, clients are happy to make the sacrifice if it means they can be home and keep working while the case is pending. When a certain bond condition makes working or home living difficult, we can file this motion to ask for a change in a condition. For example, if a defendant is not allowed to communicate with his wife, typical in a domestic violence case, managing the children becomes difficult. Most judges will entertain a motion asking to modify the bond conditions to allow for non-abusive communication to manage the kids.
Motion to Set a Bail So That DL can be Returned
Actually, I never filed this motion in a felony, but it was a frequent thing in DUI’s and traffic files. Knowing the law on bail bond, meant a little convenience for some clients. When their driver’s licenses were confiscated after a ticket or an arrest, we could go back into court requesting to pay a cash bail bond so that the physical driver’s license could be returned. Charge or no charge, you can’t live without your I.D.
Motion to Modify EHM
Electronic home monitoring (EHM) is one of the more restrictive bond conditions. Clients are happy to abide if it means they can be free while their case goes through the system. Every once in a while a defendant will need modifications in order to meet other obligations. The reasons for these motions are wide and varied. I have, at times, counseled against this type of motion. Getting your grandmother into a nursing home is one thing. A motion so you can go to your office Christmas party, might backfire in court.
Motion to Exonerate Bail
The best way to think about this motion, is as the defense version of a motion to Revoke bail. Weird, but sometimes a criminal attorney will ask that a court “undue” a client’s bail. If the client has been arrested on a new charge the prosecutor may not necessarily revoke or ask that the bail be forfeited in the first case. If the second charge is serious enough, and the defendant is being held with a really high second bond, there is often no worry that he is going to get out and be free. A defense attorney seeing that a client has been locked up on a new case may ask the court to “exonerate” the bail on the first case. What is an exoneration? It has the same effect as forfeiting or revoking a bond without the client or his family losing the money. It basically, undo’s the bail bond payment and it means the defendant is now also “in custody” on the first charge. Being “in custody” on the first charge is important so that the client can receive pretrial detention credit for the time he is serving. The idea is that if the client gets arrested on a new case then he might as well receive pretrial detention credit on the old case as well. Two birds one stone sort of thing.
Attorney Fees After Trial
This motion is not as common as you think. It is actually pretty hard use bail money to pay attorney fees. First, posted bail money is always subject to forfeiture if the client stops coming to court or the State can prove that the money came from illegal sources. Second, the law is quite clear in Illinois that posted bail bond moneys are used to pay court costs and fees before attorney fees. The one little exception, in Illinois, is when a client stops coming to court and the defense attorney is forced by the court to proceed to trial without his client. In this limited scenario, posted bail bond money can be used to pay attorney fees. I hope you’ve enjoyed the insight these sample bail bond related criminal law motions have provided.