After getting arrested for criminal charges and taken to jail, under the NC Criminal laws the person accused of wrongdoing must be taken before a magistrate. At that time the magistrate "judge" reviews the allegations and often speaks with the arresting officer.
Release from jail takes into consideration several different factors. Big picture, the magistrate asks:
- Are there terms for release from jail in place to protect the community from other possible crimes?
- Is the person accused of a crime a danger to either themselves or others?
- If you secure your release will you return to court to answer the charges?
What is a Surety Bond?
A surety bond is a type of contract. It is an agreement where one party guarantees something will happen. In the context of bail bonds, the surety agrees to pay an amount of money to the court system if the defendant fails to appear.
That is the bonding company or what some people call the "bail bondsman." They charge a fee to make sure you come back to court and do not pick up new criminal charges. Often times that is a percentage of the total amount of the secured bond.
The fees you pay to a bondsman to "post bail" and secure your release are not returned upon the completion of the charges. If you post bail directly to the court system that money is returned upon the disposition of the charges.
Bonds in North Carolina can be secured and unsecured. That's true for both felony and misdemeanor charges. A secured bond requires payment of something of value.
It is "secured" in that if there is a Failure to Appear or Order for Arrest the court system keeps the money pledged. Some bonds in North Carolina may be marked "Cash Only Bond."
In those types of criminal charges, money is paid to the court system as bail. That's different than a written promise to appear. A property bond by someone who has been making mortgage payments for years also may not be an option.
The bail amount required can be a function of the severity of the charges and prior criminal history. Unsecured bonds tend to be reserved for more minor, misdemeanor criminal charges.
Conditions of Release from Jail
In addition to paying bail or posting bond there often terms for release.
For example, in DWI charges in Charlotte, you may be Ordered not to drive a car until property licensed. The Magistrate Judge may require you to be held in jail until sober. The Magistrate may Order your release to a responsible sober adult.
Domestic Violence charges in North Carolina require a District Court Judge to set the bond. If you are arrested on a weekend you may sit in jail waiting until a District Court Judge is available to consider bond and bail issues.
Charlotte DUI Lawyer - Bill Powers - Mecklenburg Criminal Defense
Bill Powers has been helping people in Mecklenburg County with things like drug charges, DWI Driving While Impaired, and domestic violence cases since 1992.
Our criminal defense lawyers provide information about how the criminal just system works and your legal options.
What Does Secured Bond Mean for Criminal Charges in North Carolina?
Criminal charges in North Carolina may involve posting bail or working with a bonding company. That's true whether you face allegations of either a felony or misdemeanor charge. Given the different possible Terms and Conditions for release, it is a really good idea to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your legal options. Whether or not a secured bond is required takes into consideration prior criminal charges, flight risk, and danger to the community is release is authorized.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Powers
Bill Powers is a Charlotte DUI Defense Lawyer and Criminal Law Attorney. He is a former President of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and a Founding Member of the Center for Legal Education and Advocacy.
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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.