The way bond works can be different for every individual and the process can be overwhelming. There are many steps to setting and determining bond and it all begins with the Pretrial Services officer who will conduct an assessment.
How and When Will My Bond Be Set?
To determine an individual’s recommendations for release, an assessment will be conducted by Pretrial Services. All 120 counties in Kentucky are staffed with pretrial workers that are available 24/7. This “Pretrial Risk Assessment” is defined in KRS §446.010 as “an objective, research-based, validated assessment tool that measures a defendant’s risk of flight and risk of anticipated criminal conduct while on pretrial release pending adjudication.” During this step the officer will gather background information such as criminal history, severity of the current charges, likelihood of flight risk, employment status, and the risk of future criminal conduct, among other things. Each of these factors assist the pretrial officer in making their recommendation.
The state of Kentucky requires this assessment to be conducted no more than 12 hours after the arrest has been made. However, with misdemeanor offenses that do not have aggravating circumstances, this typically occurs much quicker. On the other hand, for more serious crimes the bond is not set until the arraignment. For most cases this is held within 24 hours and at this time the judge will rely on the report from the pretrial officer to set bail.
How Much Will My Bail Cost and How Long Will I Be In Jail?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide an exact or even a ballpark number for this question. However, there are some factors that may help you determine how high or low it may be. KRS §431.510 makes it illegal to offer bail bonds in the state which means there is no formal fee structure like we see in other states. Instead, this is determined by the above-mentioned factors. More specifically, KRS §431.525 states:
- The amount of the bail shall be:
- (a) sufficient to insure compliance with the conditions of release set by the court;
- (b) not oppressive;
- (c) commensurate with the nature of the offense charged;
- (d) considerate of the past criminal acts and the reasonably anticipated conduct of the defendant if released;
- and (e) considerate of the financial ability of the defendant.
Typically, once bond has been posted you should be released that day. The processing time typically can take anywhere from one to two hours to be completed. Depending on how quickly bond is set you could be released within hours of your arrest.
Can My Bail Amount Change?
Your original bail amount can later be adjusted at the discretion of the judge. This initial request should occur at the District Court arraignment by request of your attorney. If you are facing a misdemeanor charge you are then scheduled for a Pretrial Conference.
If you are facing a felony charge you will have a second arraignment in Circuit Court. This arraignment will occur after you are done with district court, and after your case has been presented to the Grand Jury. Once the Grand Jury issues an indictment, you will be brought before the Circuit Court Judge. Prior to your arraignment, the Circuit Court judge will review your bond, at which time the bond may go up, or down. If you are out of custody at this time, this could mean that you will be placed back in custody on a higher bond. At your arraignment, your attorney will have the opportunity to move for a modification in bond.
What Are the Types of Pretrial Release?
Despite what many think, the term “bond” doesn’t always mean an amount of money is paid for your release. In some instances, you may be release on other provisions. In Kentucky, there are four (4) methods by which a defendant in a criminal case can obtain pretrial release. Under Kentucky Rule of Criminal Procedure 4.04, pretrial release can be authorized if based on either one or a combination of the following:
- Personal recognizance: also known as ROR or OR, this requires the signature of the defendant, a promise to appear in court and to follow any conditions imposed by the Court;
- Unsecured bail bond: also known as an unsecured release, this requires the defendant to sign, promise to appear and follow any conditions imposed by the Court. In addition, an uncollected money amount is attached to this type of release. If the defendant fails to appear or abide by the conditions, it could lead to a forfeiture of this amount that the defendant would be required to pay;
- Nonfinancial conditions: also known as third-party surety release, this requires a third party to sign with the defendant. This person will usually be required to own property, which may be subject to forfeiture by the Court if the defendant does not show up for court or follow the conditions of release; or
- Executed bail bond: this may be cash, property, or a percentage of the bail amount. If the conditions of bail are not met, the bail amount may be forfeited.
Now That Bail Is Set, How Do I Pay It?
How you pay a bond will entirely depend upon which type of bond has been set.
- Cash bonds: These can be posted in two ways. This can be done either at the jail in which the defendant is located or at the District Courthouse in that county.
- Most often these will be a full cash bond which requires the entire amount of the bond be paid at once. However, sometimes a judge will only require 10% of the total bond to be posted to allow release.
- Property Bonds: These must be posted at the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. In Fayette County, this is located within the District Courthouse at 150 N. Limestone, Lexington, KY 40507. (This will vary by county. Please check with your attorney for specifics about your county.)
- Property bonds are only accepted Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm. Cash bonds can be posted at any time.
- In order to post a property bond, you must post real property. Meaning houses or land. No mobile homes, trailers, vehicles, or boats will satisfy this requirement. Not even a houseboat.
- In order to post a property bond, you will need the following documents:
- A copy of the deed;
- A current statement from the mortgage company indicating the principal balance owed on the property;
- If there is a second mortgage/equity line of credit, a current statement from the mortgage company. Indicating the original amount of the loan; If the statement indicates and unpaid late charges, the property may not be posted.
- A current statement from the Property Value Administrator (PVA) showing the assessed value of the property-property tax bills is not accepted. The Fayette County PVA is located at: 101 East Vine Street, 6th Floor, Lexington, Ky 40507.
- A property tax bill indicating that property taxes are paid in full.
- Equity in the Property Must be Double The Amount of the Original Cash Bond
- So, if the person has a $20,000 bond, there must be at least $40,000 in unencumbered equity in the property. If the bond is a 10% bond, you must have double the equity of the full cash bond.
- Each Owner Listed on the Deed Must Be Present to Sign the Bail Bond
- They must have acceptable photo identification. If the owner on the deed is deceased, proof of death must be produced via a death certificate.
- A Fee of $53 Must be Paid
- This must be paid at the time the bond is posted. It is a $25.00 bond filing fee and a $28.00 record release fee.
- In order to post a property bond, you will need the following documents:
There Is No One Size Fits All Answer.
Bonds are complicated and the process is hard to navigate. Get an attorney to assist with the process. Contact us today for assistance.