Bail vs. Bond: What You Should Know After Being Arrested in Colorado

Posting bail

After you are arrested in Colorado, without unnecessary delay, you will appear before a judge to hear the formal charges against you. You should be represented by an attorney at this first judicial hearing. Unless you are being charged with murder or several other very serious crimes, you have a constitutional right to post bail and be released from jail during the duration of the criminal proceedings.

In 2013, Colorado changed its laws to presume that the defendant is entitled to the appropriate and least restrictive conditions for bail. The intent of the law was to give judges discretion to determine whether a defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community when deciding whether to impose money bail or release the defendant on his or her own recognizance. Money bail favors wealthier defendants who while released can continue to live with family, work, and help their lawyers prepare a defense.

When the court requires that the defendant sign a promise to appear or deposits money, a bond, securities, or a deed with the clerk of the court to guarantee that you will show up for all court proceedings, that is called posting bail.

What is a bond?

The terms bail and bond are often used interchangeably. A bond is how bail is posted. A judge can order several kinds of bonds to post bail, broadly either unsecured signature bonds or secured bonds:

      • Signature bond: Also known as a recognizance or unsecured bond, a signature bond is when the judge allows the defendant to be released from custody after signing a promise to appear at all court hearings. A signature bond does not require a current payment. Money payment is required only if a court appearance is missed. Other statutory or non-monetary conditions might be placed on a person securing a signature bond, such as wearing an ankle bracelet, checking in with a probation officer, or restrictions on travel. Unfortunately, many judges still follow their old ways and don’t engage in the individualized analysis that would allow the use of signature bonds more generously as the 2013 bail reform envisioned. That’s another reason why you need an attorney early in the criminal proceedings, before bail is set.
      • Secured bond: These bonds require that either money or real estate be deposited with the clerk of the court to guarantee the defendant’s appearance at all criminal proceedings. Stocks and bonds can no longer be directly deposited with the court. When secured bonds are arranged through a professional bail bondsman, often because the defendant or family might not have financial resources, the bondsman charges a fee, usually 10-15 percent of the value of the bond, which is payable to the professional up front and not refundable when the proceedings are over.

Contact a Colorado criminal defense lawyer

At the Law Offices of John Anderson, we work hard to defend our client’s rights and clear their names. If you or a loved one has been arrested, detained or charged with a crime in Colorado, contact criminal defense lawyer John today at (303) 880-7994 or online to schedule your initial consultation.