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Understanding bail for misdemeanors

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Defendants who are facing trial for a misdemeanor have a right to some type of pretrial release. There are different types of release, and a judge determines the type a defendant is eligible for.

According to the Judicial Council of Georgia, Administrative Office of the Courts, a defendant has the right to appear before a judge as soon as possible after the arrest. There are also consequences if the defendant violates the condition of the release.

Bail basics

A defendant arrested without a warrant must appear before a judge within 48 hours of arrest, while a defendant arrested on a warrant must appear within 72 hours of arrest. The judge considers various factors when determining bail, including the defendant’s financial situation.

Forms of release

There are different forms of release. One option the judge might offer is unsecured release on the defendant’s own recognizance, which means he or she does not owe a type of bond. The judge may also offer unsecured release with entrance into a diversion or intervention program.

The judge may also require a secured bond for pretrial release. This may include cash, real property, the defendant’s driver’s license, commercial surety or personal surety. Another release option is electronic monitoring.

Conditions of an electronic monitoring program

FindLaw discusses that if pretrial release requires electronic monitoring, the judge will outline certain conditions the defendant must follow. Examples include:

  • Home confinement except for approved trips
  • Curfews
  • Restrictions on alcohol and drug use with random drug testing
  • Employment limitations
  • Payment of associated monitoring fees

Consequences for bail violation or failure to appear

If a defendant violates any of the bail conditions or fails to appear at required court hearings, there are consequences. The defendant may face arrest for bail jumping, there is a forfeiture of any secured bond and there may be a revocation of the release.