What Happens at a Bond Hearing?
A bond hearing is set within a certain amount of time after a defendant’s arrest. In Florida, for example, a defendant is entitled to a bond hearing within 24 hours after being arrested, so bond hearings are held every day twice a day. Some judges hold remote bond hearings. The defendant will appear in a courtroom, but the judge appears by video and/or voice technology. The judge can see the courtroom where the defendants wait for their bond hearing.
Generally, bond is set once the arrest is processed, but certain individuals may have to wait for a bond hearing. If the defendant allegedly committed a crime for which no bond will be set, he will appear before a criminal court to determine a) if there will be a bond, and b) what the bond may be if a bond is issued. A court may deny bond if it thinks, among other things, that a defendant will harm himself or others or if the court thinks the defendant may be a flight risk.
All of the defendants who have been arrested and have not had their bond hearing are brought to the courtroom. As their names are called, they move up to the podium, or if the proceedings are being video taped, move up to a specific point in the courtroom. The judge will read off the charges and determine whether there will be a bond. People who are accused of heinous crimes are usually denied bond.
Occasionally, there may be a situation where the defendant could be given a bond, but in the bond hearing, the court needs to see more information. If the court suspects that bond money may have come from criminal actions, the court may either deny bond or require the defendant to show proof that the bond money was not obtained in the commission of a crime. In one well-known case where the defendant allegedly siphoned money from hedge funds, the court is requesting documentation to show where the accused spent the money obtained from the hedge funds. If the defendant cannot produce this information by the bond hearing, the court may deny bond to prevent the defendant from using the money on his bond.
If the court thinks the defendant may be a flight risk, the court will also deny bond. This could happen if the defendant has already tried to leave the country after the commission of the crime. It could also happen if an inordinate amount of money was obtained during the commission of the crime. At the bond hearing, the judge may deny bail on the grounds that the defendant may use the money to leave the country to avoid prosecution.