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Expectations for the initial hearing when facing federal charges

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Federal Crimes |

If you are facing federal charges, you are probably wondering what the initial steps are and if there is any chance for a release from jail before the trial starts.

One of the first steps is an initial hearing. During this time, the judge will usually make a bail decision, and there are various factors considered.

Initial hearing process

According to the United States Department of Justice, Offices of the United States Attorneys, the initial hearing occurs early on, often on the same day of the arrest. During the hearing, the judge will review the charges with the defendant and go over his or her rights. If the defendant does not have an attorney at the time of the hearing, the judge will assign a public defender. The judge will also ask for a guilty or not guilty plea.

At this time, the judge will determine whether the defendant is eligible for bail.

Bail considerations

There is no guarantee of bail for any defendant, but there are certain factors that the judge will consider when making his or her decision. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are four options available to the judge:

  • Release on an unsecured bond or personal recognizance
  • Release based on the meeting of certain conditions
  • Detain for revocation proceedings
  • Detain until trial

Although detention until trial is the last considered option, the judge chooses it in more than 70%  of federal crime cases.

In determining release or detention, the judge considers the nature of the crime; the criminal history of the defendant; the risk to the victim or community and ties to family, career and the community.

If the judge grants a conditional release and the defendant violates any of the conditions, there will be an amendment or revocation of the release.