There are several different options that judicial officials have at their disposal when setting a defendant’s pretrial release conditions. There are five basic conditions that a judge or magistrate may set, and I discuss them below. The NC statute that lists these conditions is 15A-534(a).
Release on written promise to appear
This option allows the defendant to simply be released from jail without paying any bond or money based on his promise to appear in court on his court date.
Release the defendant upon his execution of an unsecured appearance bond. An unsecured bond is one that is backed only by the integrity of the defendant. No assets or collateral is required to be posted on this type of bond.
Place the defendant in custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him Similar to a release on a written promise to appear, since no money is required to secure release. If this condition is imposed, the defendant may elect to execute a secured appearance bond instead.
Require the execution of a secured apperance bond A secured appearance bond is one that is backed by a cash deposit in the full amount of the bond, by a mortgage, or by at least one solvent surety.
House arrest with electronic monitoring. This condition requires the defendant to stay at his residence unless the court authorizes departure for employment, counseling, a course of study, or vocational training. The defendant will be required to wear a device which permits the supervising agency to electronically monitor compliance with the condition. A secured appearance bond will also be imposed.
Pretrial release on a written promise to appear, an unsecured appearance bond, or on a custody release are options often given for misdemeanor offenses in which the defendant does not pose as a flight risk. Several factors are evaluated, including the seriousness of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, the presence of other pending charges, length of residency, employment, and ties to the community, among other factors. The statute states that a judicial official must impose one of these 3 conditions unless he determines that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required, will pose a danger of injury to any person, or is likely to result in the destruction of evidence, subornation of perjury, or intimidation of potential witnesses. If the judicial official finds one of these factors requires a secured bond or house arrest, he must list the reasons in writing for doing so.
Recent legislation that went into effect December 1st, 2011 affects defendants charged with driving while impaired who have had a prior conviction of driving while impaired within the last 7 years. The judicial official may order the defendant to abstain from alcohol consumption as verified by a continuous alcohol monitoring system for the period of pretrial release or until the condition is removed.
If you are charged with driving while impaired or another criminal offense and have questions about your case or about the pretrial release process, please contact Raleigh DWI attorney Matthew Golden today for a free consultation.