What Conditions Might A Judge Put On Someone Before They Are Released?
One of the differences between a surety bond and a personal bond is that a surety bond will almost always come with no attached conditions, unless the judge who originally magistrated the defendant adds conditions to the actual jail commitment. In that event, even when a surety bond is being used to get someone out of jail, the defendant will still have to comply with those conditions. More often, you see conditions applied on a personal bond. The types of conditions will depend on the type of case.
For a DWI charge, the defendant might be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, which would make sure that they were not driving after they had consumed any alcohol, and would also verify that they were actually the person who was driving the vehicle. This is done by means of a camera embedded in the ignition interlock system.
In a circumstance of a DWI case where the judge knew that the defendant was not going to be driving, perhaps because the defendant’s car was totaled in an accident, the judge may require a portable alcohol monitor instead. A portable alcohol monitor is different than an interlock device, in that it requires you to blow into the device at certain times of day, typically four times a day with an hour long window. This device not only prevents you from drinking and driving, it prevents you from drinking at all. A portable monitor would also be used in a more serious situation, such as where a defendant had multiple pending DWI charges at the same time or more than two previous DWI convictions. In these scenarios, the judge might also require what is called a SCRAM bracelet, which is a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring bracelet. It is worn on the ankle and checks trans-dermally for the presence of alcohol metabolites. Like the portable alcohol monitor, it prevents any consumption of alcohol.
In violence or community-safety related cases, the judge may impose either an electronic monitor, or a GPS anklet, which are both the same device, but operate differently depending on what the judge orders. Electronic monitor is a form of house arrest, and the defendant is required to stay behind a “geo-fence” that is erected around their home, and they may only leave it for work and pre-approved activities. Electronic monitor is free to the defendant. GPS monitoring works the opposite way and prevents the defendant from going into “exclusion zones” erected around the victim’s home and the victim’s work. There is no restriction of house arrest for a defendant on a GPS device, however the device is the most expensive one that a defendant can be required to maintain and runs in excess of $360/month. For electronic monitor cases most judges will remove the device after 60-90 days of compliance, but judges are less likely to be willing to remove a GPS device due to victim safety concerns.
Aside from devices, the judge may order some type of counseling. For a DWI charge, you may be ordered to attend alcohol counseling or possibly drug counseling, if the judge or police suspect that there were drugs involved. If it is a felony drug case, the judge may require that the defendant submit to some type of drug court evaluation, so that, if they have a drug problem, they would be able to do address it and then be eligible for a dismissal on their case. If it were a violence-related situation, the judge might require you to undergo a violence evaluation and follow any recommendations for classes. The judge would also likely require that the defendant have no contact with the victim and remain 200 yards or more away from him or her. In a firearms related case, the judge might require that the defendant be in possession of no firearms during the pendency of the case.
Typically, you will see conditions that are tailored to the type of case and the judge will use them for community safety purposes. When a judge makes a decision about a personal bond, they are weighing the defendant’s presumption of innocence and their right to be free against community safety and the safety of the alleged victim, if there is one. While there are typical bond conditions for certain types of cases, the judge can add any condition that they see fit.
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