The Role of a Lawyer in Getting Bail
In Washington criminal cases, it is common for a judge to order a defendant to pay bail to be released. In some cases, however, the court may seek to impose a bail amount that is disproportionate to the crime alleged, or it may deny bail altogether. Thus, if you are charged with a crime, it is important to understand the role of a lawyer in getting bail. The seasoned Tacoma bail lawyers at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC can provide you with assertive and effective representation at bail hearings and throughout your criminal case. We assist people in criminal matters in cities in Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.The Imposition of Bail in Washington Criminal Cases
Under Washington law, whether to grant bail is within the discretion of the court. Under CrR 3.2 and 3.2.1, after a person is charged with a crime, he or she will appear before the court at a preliminary appearance, during which he or she will be formally advised of the charges against him or her and enter a plea. Additionally, the judge will determine whether the person is eligible for pre-trial release, and if so, what the terms of any release should be. Typically, the court will issue an order setting the amount of bail that the defendant must pay to remain out of jail until the completion of the trial. While the suggested bail amount for each crime is set forth by the Washington State Bail Schedule, the amounts are only recommendations, and the judge will assess the facts of each case to determine whether to set bail at an amount higher or lower than the suggested amount or deny bail altogether.The Role of a Lawyer in Getting Bail
Since the decision of whether to grant or deny bail is entirely up to the judge, the evidence presented to the judge during the defendant’s preliminary appearance is critical to obtaining a fair bail amount. Thus, it is advisable for any criminal defendant to retain an experienced defense attorney to argue on his or her behalf during hearings in which bail is discussed. The attorney can present any evidence that will be favorable to the defendant, such as the defendant’s character and connection to the community, the defendant’s lack of criminal history, and a lack of previous threats by the defendant.
Additionally, if a court orders bail, but a defendant cannot post bail, under CrR 3.2, an attorney can file a motion reconsideration of bail, arguing that the bail amount is excessive under the relevant facts of the case. The court will review additional evidence and testimony, and if it finds the evidence compelling, it may reduce the bail to a lower amount. In cases in which the court denies bail and orders the detention of the defendant prior to trial, an attorney can file a writ seeking an expedited review of the detention order.
Even if the bail set is appropriate, in most cases, it will be necessary for the defendant to obtain a bail bond through a licensed bail bond agent. Criminal defense attorneys routinely deal with bail bond agents and can assist defendants in contacting trustworthy agents and facilitating communications and transactions between the defendant and the agent. Obtaining release on bail is important in any criminal case, since it allows a defendant to focus on preparing a defense and exercising his or her rights. As a result, a defendant should retain an attorney as soon as possible to assist with the process of getting bail.Meet with a Proficient Criminal Attorney in Tacoma
Attorneys can exercise their skills and experience to help criminal defendants obtain more favorable results than if they were unrepresented. At the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC, our capable attorneys have assisted many defendants by successfully arguing for a release on bail or the reduction of an excessive bail amount. Our office is located in Tacoma, and we are available to meet by appointment at a second office in Vashon. We can be contacted at 253-203-1645 or via our online form to set up a free, confidential meeting to discuss the role of a lawyer in getting bail.