How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

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  • How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

    Hey there folks,

    My googling isn't being clear enough right now. I'm looking for how this situation would play out with the courts, if anyone has some trial knowledge.

    MAN beats WOMAN (that bastard!)
    MAN is arrested.

    What happens from there for man? I believe he has an arraignment--within the next day, or later? Bail is set... can he leave right away if he has the money? Would the trial be within days, or would it be in weeks/months? Anything change if he can't pay bail? Just wait around in jail into the hearing, yeah?

    Much appreciated! Thanks everyone.
    Twitter: @jboffer

  • #2
    Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

    Originally posted by jboffer View Post
    Hey there folks,

    My googling isn't being clear enough right now. I'm looking for how this situation would play out with the courts, if anyone has some trial knowledge.

    MAN beats WOMAN (that bastard!)
    MAN is arrested.

    What happens from there for man? I believe he has an arraignment--within the next day, or later? Bail is set... can he leave right away if he has the money? Would the trial be within days, or would it be in weeks/months? Anything change if he can't pay bail? Just wait around in jail into the hearing, yeah?

    Much appreciated! Thanks everyone.
    Arraignment: depends on the state, the number of cases on the calendar, the time he was arrested...

    If he gets arrested at 8am on a Tuesday, and processing only takes a couple of hours and the judge has room on the calendar after lunch, he could be arraigned that afternoon.

    If he gets arrested at 2am on a Saturday along with a couple hundred other miscreants, processing might take twelve hours and it might be another 24 (or more) before his turn comes up in arraignment. Some states require arraignment within a certain time. NY is 72 hours, CA is 48, for example.

    So whatever works for your story there.

    Bail: There's bail and there's bond. Bail is cash. If you have it on you, you can get out pretty quickly. You won't be walking out the door five minutes after the gavel falls, but within a few hours. Bail is refundable after your trial is over, providing you have made all your appearances. If you don't have enough cash (and the judge gave you a bond option) you pay a bail bondsman a percentage of the bail (that you do not get back) and the bondsman guarantees your appearance (i.e. promises to pay the court your bail if you skip out).

    That takes longer because first you have to find somebody on the outside to arrange your bond, and then the bondsman has to make arrangements with the court, and by then the defendant may have already been shipped off to jail, so there's another step in the process.

    And yes, if you can't post bail or bond, you stay in jail until your trial.

    And for the record, I have a friend who's a public defender, I am not a criminal!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

      That's amazing and perfect. Only question left is, what is a range of time it takes for a case like this to go to trial? I need a low estimate (within the week?) and a high estimate (would it take longer than a month?) so I can do what's best for the story.

      Would the prosecutor be gathering any more evidence beside pictures of the house/victim?

      Thanks again, it's all awesome!
      Twitter: @jboffer

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

        Originally posted by jboffer View Post
        That's amazing and perfect. Only question left is, what is a range of time it takes for a case like this to go to trial? I need a low estimate (within the week?) and a high estimate (would it take longer than a month?) so I can do what's best for the story.

        Would the prosecutor be gathering any more evidence beside pictures of the house/victim?

        Thanks again, it's all awesome!
        Trial would be months out. I'd say at least three. I'll ask my friend if a shorter date is in the realm of possibility and under what circumstances. It can always take longer. Continuances, changing court schedules.

        Evidence would include police reports, photos, medical records (assuming the victim allows them to be used), a 911 call (if there is one), eyewitness testimony, the defendants prior behavior/record (if the judge allows those to be considered).

        Also - I don't know the circumstances of your plot, but the trial can go on even if the victim no longer wishes to press charges. She'd be subpoenaed to testify and could be charged with contempt if she refuses or perjury if she recants.

        Also depending on your plot - a judge could issue an order of protection (aka restraining order) while the defendant is out on bail. And if the defendant violated that, he'd be back in jail.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

          Bail would be set based on severity of the charges. Typical domestic abuse it's likely 10-25k. He'd have to post 12% of that with a bondsman who is then on the hook for the full amount.

          Trial does not happen quickly.

          As mentioned likely a civil restraining order or conditions set by judge for the bail to be granted would include no contact or being within x feet. They'd allow a police escorted visit to the family house for him to get stuff.

          Domestic violence cases also now don't allow the alleged victim to drop charges easily. A prosecutor may pursue the case regardless and the system is suspicious the woman was intimidated or a battered spouse syndrome sufferer.
          "I talked to a couple of yes men at Metro. To me they said no."


          http://wagstaffnet.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

            Originally posted by C.C.Baxter View Post
            Domestic violence cases also now don't allow the alleged victim to drop charges easily. A prosecutor may pursue the case regardless and the system is suspicious the woman was intimidated or a battered spouse syndrome sufferer.
            Yeah, apparently it's a "crime against the state" and almost every prosecutor would pursue the case if the evidence was obvious.

            That info is perfect. I'm glad trials typically take awhile, it serves me perfectly. Thanks again!
            Twitter: @jboffer

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

              Good advice so far... I add a little.

              First of all, critical to question of bond/bail and any scheduling of trial date depends on whether this charge is misdemeanor/felony. That could depend on severity of injuries sustained by putative victim, any allegation of a weapon used/threatened such as a firearm, knife, lamp, picture frame dish etc and and/or crucially, any prior charges/convictions s of the alleged defendant.

              BOND

              Additionally, as to bail/bond depends ALOT on jurisdiction and/or local rules of the jurisdiction. Some don't favor cash bonds, some prefer bondsmen. Just depends. As for the bond, bond can be posted several ways.

              Recognizance bond (defendant signs & promises to appear)

              Big bag of cash for boatload of bond.

              Real estate/property

              Surety (This is where % cash bonds and bonsdman come in)

              Any combination of above.

              For a normal % of the total bond, poster can't be defendant, has to have job/ property or something tying them to community. They post the % cash or other % of total bond ordered. Often called 10% bonds.

              Note that if defendant bolts, the % poster's on the hook civilly for rest of total bond amount. Basically they gotta drag defendant to court, or at least know where he's at if he fails to show. % Poster can lose % cash posted and still be on the hook for the other % later if and when bond's forfeited. But the others so far are right... normally 10%.

              [I might add in some places, a jail may have a schedule of pre-set bonds for different charges and degree offenses so folks can post a bond in more routine cases. A defense attorney's always welcome to contact them though to set bond or petition to lower it...]

              TRIAL DATES

              Controlled by nature of offense, whether one's held and state statute or constitution governing right to speedy trial and whether it's going to be bench trial (judge decides) or jury trial.

              Misdemeanor trial date, could be really fast (within weeks/month or two if no jury's requested and might be up to 6 mo's/ 1 year if jury's demanded.

              If charged as a felony DV case, it'll take alot longer due to probable cause determination requirement for for someone to stand trial. Note, this is where grand jury or the preliminary hearing comes in and this has to be done right away. Felony trial can be 6 mos, a year out or even longer depending on size of trial docket and judge availability. Can even be a year or two longer in some circumstances...

              Duration of trial date depends on factors including the complexity of legal and/or factual issues in the case, scheduling of folks for a longer lasting trial (more jurors, more witnesses). Availability becomes more at issue when more and more souls get involved.

              Constitutional Rights to Speedy Trial and state/local statues control trial dates. Note a defendant can waive his right to a speedy trial; no one else can. He might waive if he or his lawyer needs time to prepare, has older cases scheduled or needs further time to investigate, research, track down evidence/witnesses) This becomes a big deal as to when trials really go.

              EVIDENCE

              For DV cases, mostly it'll consist of primarily victim testimony (if survive), any witnesses that were present (lay or police/law enforcement , attending emergency/medical folks), photo's of scene/injuries, medical evidence, (especially if rape allegation) and custodian of records to introduce medical records, courthouse records if they need to show defendant's prior convictions. Obviously, live testimony's best, too in addition to photos...

              DISCLAIMER--

              ALL THIS IS SUBJECT TO LOCAL RULES and varies state by state. EVERY STATE'S DIFFERENT. I recommend consulting with local attorney/counsel for accuracy if you face any of these issues or have any further questions in the area you're writing...

              I banged this out fairly fast. I hope it helps JB in providing some thoughts/ideas to consider while writing in this area...
              Last edited by MJ Scribe; 04-10-2013, 08:39 PM.
              " Don't really like writing. But I do like having written." Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

                Love it. Thanks MJ.
                Twitter: @jboffer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

                  Originally posted by jboffer View Post
                  Hey there folks,

                  My googling isn't being clear enough right now. I'm looking for how this situation would play out with the courts, if anyone has some trial knowledge.

                  MAN beats WOMAN (that bastard!)
                  MAN is arrested.

                  What happens from there for man? I believe he has an arraignment--within the next day, or later? Bail is set... can he leave right away if he has the money? Would the trial be within days, or would it be in weeks/months? Anything change if he can't pay bail? Just wait around in jail into the hearing, yeah?

                  Much appreciated! Thanks everyone.
                  Sorry I didn't cover the sequence so much...

                  Defendant gets arrested, drug out of out house when someone calls police or later if caught later.

                  Then the defendant sits in jail waiting... should get a call at this point. If he's got help on the outside, he can get someone to visit him or call to have them call counsel to contact court re: bond.

                  If no bond's posted, he'll sit til next court day or so. Usually within 48 hours he'll be brought to court for initial appearance. There the court advises him of charge(s), range of punishment for offense(s) and inquire whether he has his own counsel or needs to be referred to public defender. Also here Judge or magistrate will set next the court date for him to appear (if post bond) or be brought back. Next courtdate will be in week to a month or so.

                  Initial appearance is limited to that. And, it's real fast. No time to discuss much else other than counsel/charge. Any pre-trial release will be conditioned on his returning for all courtdates and no contact with victim and/or state's witnesses...

                  Then, the PD or private counsel gets involved and starts moving case in terms of plea negotiations, pre-trial motions and any potential trial setting.

                  hope this helps. Good luck!
                  " Don't really like writing. But I do like having written." Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How bail/trial works in a domestic violence case

                    Adding another twist: Some jurisdictions do not allow a magistrate to set bail for a short time, such as 48 hours, for a "cooling off period". Yeah, I'd be cooling off also if I was hauled into the clink for something I did not do. The above explains why many assault on a female warrants are taken out at 4:59 pm on a Friday or once the complainant sees the judge's car leave the courthouse. The magistrate can contact a judge to set bail but that is discouraged (by the judges). This cooling off period allows ample time to borrow a friend's truck to clean out the house (or mobile home). No, I'm not cynical.

                    Comment

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