Release Hearing

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Need a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer? Contact David Michael Cantor, if you need assistance with Release Hearing.

In many cases, a Defendant has already had an Initial Appearance before our services have been retained. At this point it is often necessary to file a “Motion to Modify Conditions of Release” (sometimes known as a “Release Hearing”). Prior to conducting these motion hearings, many Judges require that a “Release Questionnaire” be filled out by a Defendant (or his Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer) which was issued by “Pretrial Services”. Pretrial Services is a group within the Probation Department that monitors Defendants while they are on release pending the outcome of their cases. In some instances, they will require the Defendant to undergo alcohol and / or drug monitoring. In other situations they will require “Electronic Monitoring” (i.e., an ankle bracelet) in order to monitor a Defendant’s whereabouts. Along with the ankle bracelet, they will impose curfew requirements and notification to a Pretrial Services Officer any time a Defendant will be deviating from the set hours (i.e., in order to go see his attorney, go to the doctor’s office, or things of that nature).

After the Release Questionnaire has been completed, we will prepare a Motion to Modify Conditions of Release which will detail certain factors the Court needs to know at the Release Hearing. For example, the Court will need to know how long the Defendant has lived in Arizona; whether the Defendant has ever failed to appear in the past for a Court date; the nature of the offense in this Court; any community ties such as family or co-workers; whether the Defendant is employed; and other things of this nature which help demonstrate to the Court that the Defendant is not a flight risk. In the Motion to Modify Conditions of Release, we will specifically ask the Judge to first release the Defendant “Own Recognizance” (i.e., “OR”) or in the alternative to a third party, or in the alternative to Pretrial Services, or in the alternative to reduce the amount of the bond. These are asked in descending order of preference.

Four Types of Release:

Own Recognizance (OR): This is where the judge simply releases you from your Release Hearing on a promise to appear at your next court date based upon the fact that you have established ties to the community and are not a risk to yourself or others. The judge will also look to see whether you have failed to appear for past court dates on other matters.

Third Party Release: This is where the judge releases you from you Release Hearing to a third party (usually your parents or spouse) with the promise that they will bring you to court. They will have to answer to the judge if you do not show up at any one of your court dates.

Pretrial Services Release: This is normally seen only in felony cases. This involves the state’s agency monitoring you after your Release Hearing to make sure that you behave while you are out of custody and that you appear for all your court dates. This is similar to probation in that a surveillance officer could show up at your house at any time. If you are consuming alcohol, or have engaged in any illegal activities, they can inform the judge and have your release revoked immediately. Sometimes they will require you to wear an ankle monitoring device.

Bond: This is a method whereby the judge sets a certain dollar figure for you to post after your Release Hearing which will guarantee that you will appear at your next court date. If you fail to appear, the judge can then order a “Bond Forfeiture Hearing” to determine why the state should not be allowed to keep your money. Sometimes a “Bonding Schedule” is posted on simple felonies which designates an amount of money that a person can post in order to be released prior to seeing a judge.If a “bail bondsman” is used, usually a member of the Defendant’s family or a Defendant’s friend will contact the bonding agency. They need to give the bondsman approximately 10% of the bond amount, and then the bondsman will post the entire bond with the Court. The 10% which is given to the bondsman is their fee and will never be recovered by the Defendant. If a Defendant fails to appear in court, the bondsman will then send out a “bounty hunter” to track that person down and arrest them. They do this in order to make sure that the full bond amount is not forfeited by the judge at the bond forfeiture hearing.

In the past, our Firm has demonstrated to the Court that the Justice of the Peace or the Jail Court Judge who set the original bond did not properly follow guidelines. Our Firm has also been able to demonstrate that the bond amount is excessive and unconstitutional and we have been able to get the amounts either greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. For example, we had one case involving a vehicular manslaughter where our client had a one million dollar ($1,000,000.00) bond put in place by the Jail Court Judge. After filing our motions and conducting a Release Hearing regarding our Motion to Modify Conditions of Release, the bond was reduced to $16,000.00. “But for” our efforts, that particular client would have sat in custody during the entire pendency of his case.

It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of it’s lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyers know the system well. For a free initial consultation, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.

Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer about your case. We will assist you with your Release Hearing.

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