Bail Reviews in Maryland. Part 2: Factors that determine a bond amount

When setting or reviewing a bond, the judge looks at only two things: 1) is the defendant a danger to society and 2) is the defendant a flight risk?

The judge will always look at a defendant’s prior criminal history and background because it can indicate whether the defendant is a danger to others. If my client has no priors, you can bet I’m going to emphasize that throughout the bail review hearing.

The judge will also look at the allegations in the present case and see what the defendant is accused of doing. No matter how bad the allegations sound, an experienced attorney can usually mitigate the facts or present an argument why they should be given little weight. For example, if the defendant is charged based on a civilian complaint with only one witness, or if the complainant says the defendant had a weapon but the police never recovered a weapon, I might argue this lack of evidence merits a lower bail amount. A bail review hearing isn’t the time to decide any facts of the case, but addressing them and framing them in the right way can help get the bond reduced.

Some of the factors that go into whether the defendant is a flight risk include where the defendant lives, where he or she grew up, what family and friends live in the area, where and if he or she is employed, where the defendant goes to church or school, and any other connections to the area. Having family members come to court for the hearing can also prove beneficial as the judge can see firsthand the strong ties that person has to the community.

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