One of the very first steps in the criminal process is the issue of bail – is the person going to be released pending trial or are they going to sit in jail until trial Almost everyone has a right to bail but, more pressing, is amount of bail one may need to post to be released. New Hampshire has recently seen numerous changes to the bail statute. People charged with a crime are often released on what is called personal recognizance. This is a promise to appear at all future court hearings. In addition, the court may impose several conditions such as not possessing a firearm, not using drugs or consuming alcohol and/or staying away from a certain place or person.
The court may set a cash bail if the person has a lengthy criminal history or a history of failing to appear for court hearings.
Lastly, the court may hold a person pending trial on preventative detention. A Judge may consider preventative detention where the alleged offense is serious and the offender has a lengthy prior criminal history.
Typically, courts focus on several narrow issues when considering the terms and conditions of a person’s bail. First, is the person a flight risk? Are they going to run off to a remote island in the South Pacific or will they show up for court? The prosecutor and the judge will be looking to see if the person has a history of absconding while on bail, a history of defaults or a history of failing to abide by the terms and conditions of bail on past occasions.
Secondly, the court will look to see if the person poses a danger to himself/herself and others. The court will scrutinize the current charge and a person’s prior criminal history. The court will also likely receive an “offer of proof” or statement about the offense from the prosecutor. The prosecutor will seek to paint the accused in the worst possible light.
You need an aggressive attorney right from the start. Attorneys Shepherd and Hayes have years of experience advocating on behalf of clients at bail hearings. We advocate for non-monetary bail conditions. For example, a person suffering from a drug addiction is better served entering into a residential substance abuse program than sitting in a jail cell.
We get started on day 1 gathering all the necessary facts and information to successfully litigate the issue of bail. If incarcerated, we get the ball rolling and seek an immediate bail hearing.