Bail is usually decided at the Initial Appearance. Sometimes a lawyer will find it necessary to postpone a bail hearing for a few days in order to prepare for the bailing hearing and increase the chances of getting the client bailed. Bail can be agreed to or contested by the federal prosecutor, but the decision about whether to release someone on bail is up to the court.
Security for the bond can be cash, property, or the signatures of co-signers. Co-signers are people who stand up for the accused person in court, guaranteeing his return. If the client fails to show up for court then the government can hold the co-signers responsible for the full amount of the bond. If property, like a house or land, is used as security, the court generally requires that everyone on the deed for the property sign the bond.
Anyone planning to co-sign a bond should make every effort to come to the bond hearing. Anyone who comes to the bond hearing should know to come early enough to check in at the front desk, to bring current, government-issued picture identification, and to not bring in any cellular phones.
Before the bond hearing, a member of the Pretrial Services Office will interview the client. Everything said at that interview will go into a bail report for the court, prosecutor, and defense attorney. It is not a confidential interview and the defendant has a right to not answer any questions in this interview. The Pretrial Service Office makes a recommendation about bail to the court. The officer may call the friends or family members of the client to verify his background. If the court sets bail, there may be restrictions placed upon the client while the case is pending. These restrictions may include travel limitations, curfew, reporting to pretrial services, drug testing or treatment, mental health testing or treatment, and electronic monitoring, among others.
If while out on bail a client fails to obey the conditions set by the judge, he could be rearrested. The bail could be revoked and new charges could be brought based upon the violation of the bail conditions.
Once released on bail, a client must attend every court appearance. If the client does not appear, the judge can issue a warrant for arrest. It is important that the lawyer always know how to reach his or her client, and be advised of any changes in contact information.