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Colorado Bail Bond Revocation Laws …And Some General Q and A Information on Colorado Bail Bond Laws

      By Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

What Is the Purpose Of A Criminal Defense Bond?

When a defendant is arrested or issued a summons and complaint, a court appearance is set.  Defendant may be booked into jail and held pending trial or final disposition, or left free in the community pending court appearances.  If free, defendant may or may not appear. 

A bond is an agreement  – a contract that says that certaub collateral – assets – will be forfeited in the event of a non-appearance.  CRS 16-4-102, CRS 16-4-106

Who May Post A Bail Bond?

Upon sufficient sureties, all persons charged with a crime are entitled to “bail out,” with certain statutory exceptions such as capital crimes, crimes of violence and other set forth in CRS 16-4-401, CRS 16-4-102.. this included domestic violence cases – bail is not permitted until after the defendant sees a judge who then issues a restraining order under the law and permits the posting of bond.

What Are The Types Of Bond  CRS 16-4-104

The Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond)

An eligibility investigator who works for the court system generally interviews arrestees at the jail assessing certain criteria that demonstrates ties to the community (i.e. stability of residence and employment, family support system in the community, etc.)  If sufficient points are accrued, the defendant is released on his / her promise to appear.  In the event of failure to appear (FTA), defendant owes the court the amount of the bond.  This is the preferable bond as no cost is involved. Some important terms to learn here are Personal Recognizance Bond Investigation and Personal Recognizance Bond Supervision

The Surety Bond

This type of bond is most familiar to the public.  Here, the bondsman guarantees defendant will appear in court, or the court forfeits the bond and the bondsman must pay the amount of the bond to the court.  Each bondsman is typically an agent for an insurance company who permits the posting of the bond.  In the event of a failure to appear in court (an FTA), this may result in a “bounty hunter” looking for the fugitive from justice.  CRS 12-7-101 et. seq., CRS 16-4-112

The Bond premium is set by statute – the maximum is15% of the bond amount.  CRS 12-7-108 .. The typical amount is 10%. 

The Role of Collateral In Posting A Bond

Some bondsmen will collateralize with $1 less than the face amount of the bond, or take a trust deed against the defendant’s real property or the real property of defendant’s family.  Others may hold personal property, car title, etc. as collateral. 

Calls to multiple bondsmen are recommended.  The law requires that the collateral must be promptly returned upon bond exoneration – within 10 working days after receipt of the court order..  CRS 12-7-109(1)(d.5)  If not done, his / her bail bond license may be revoked by the state and is guilty of a misdemeanor and there is a possible penalty of 1 year jail or a $1,000 fine or both.  CRS 12-7-109(1)(a)

Bondsman MAY REVOKE THE BOND And Surrender The Defendant Back To The Court

A bondsman may revoke the bond and end his / her liability on bond by turning the defendant into the jail house.  This would likely be done only in the event the bondsman is concerned the defendant intends to jump bond and flee – become a fugitive from justice.  CRS 16-4-108(c)

It is unlawful for a bondsman to specify, suggest or advise clients to employ any particular attorney.  If a bondsman makes an attorney referral, his / her bail bond license may be revoked by the state and is guilty of a misdemeanor – penalty 1 year jail and up to a $1,000  fine.  CRS 12-7-109(1)(a)

The Cash Bond

Here the Defendants places the full amount of the bond on deposit with the Clerk of Court.  In the event of FTA, the cash would be forfeited and proceeds applied to the bond. 

The Property Bond.  Defendant or family would give a real property trust deed to the Clerk of Court – equity 1.5 times the amount of the bond.  In the event of FTA, the property would be sold and proceeds applied to the bond. 

How Is The Bond Amount Determined – Who Decides The Bond Amount? Using What Criteria?

Selection by judge of the amount of bail and type of bond – criteria – the criteria are set out by under Colorado law. Here is a LINK yo an article on Bail Bond Criteria.

Myself or a loved one has been arrested and is in jail.  Do I call a lawyer or bondsman first?

Call a bondsman.  If the defendant did not qualify for a PR Bond, the bondsman can have the detainee out in a short time.  When an attorney files a motion for bond reduction, the prosecutors are entitled to reasonable notice.  CRS 16-4-107(2)  Five business days notice may be deemed reasonable.  C.R.Crim.P. 45(d)  Most people want out of jail yesterday.

Should a defendant talk to the bondsman regarding the facts of the case?

Absolutely not.  The bondsman is not covered by any statutory privilege such as the attorney-client privilege.  A bondsman doesn’t need to know the facts of the case.  They are interested in the charges pending, bond amount, stability of the defendant and ability to pay the bond premium plus collateralize as may be requested.  Prosecutors could issue a subpoena to require the bondsman’s appearance in court, and statements made to a bondsman could be used as evidence against a defendant.  CRS 13-90-107

How long is the bond in effect?

Essentially, until finding of guilt – by plea or trial verdict, dismissal of the case or acquittal.  CRS 16-4-108

Wht happens if I’m on bond and enter a plea of guilt – how do I stay out of jail pending sentencing hearing?

If on bond, at the time of plea entry, defendant must present to the court a bondsman’s consent to remain on bond.  Unless the bondsman is concerned the defendant will flee, it is commonplace for bondsmen to give a consent to remain on bond.  CRS 16-4-201

Colorado Law Regarding Bail Bonds  

C.R.Crim.P. 46. Bail

In considering the question of bail, the Court shall be governed by the statutes and the Constitution of the State of Colorado and the United States Constitution.

CRS 16-4-107. Reduction or increase of bail – change in type of bond.

        (1) Upon application by the district attorney or the defendant, the court before which the

proceeding is pending may increase or decrease the amount of bail, may require additional security for a bond, may dispense with security theretofore provided, or may alter any condition of the bond.

        (2) Reasonable notice of an application for modification of a bond by the defendant shall be given to the district attorney.

        (3) Reasonable notice of application for modification of a bond by the district attorney shall be given to the defendant, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section.

        (4) Upon verified application by the district attorney stating facts or circumstances constituting a breach or a threatened breach of any of the conditions of the bond, the court may issue a warrant commanding any peace officer to bring the defendant without unnecessary delay before the court for a hearing on the matters set forth in the application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court may enter an order authorized by subsection (1) of this section.

        (5) The district attorney has the right to appear at all hearings seeking modification of the terms and conditions of bail and may advise the court on all pertinent matters during the hearing. 

The Victim’s Right to Be Heard On Bond

The court is required under the VRA to inquire as to whether the victim is present and wishes to address the court at all of the proceedings listed below. The victim has the right to address the court through oral or written communication, or both, and that decision is left to the sole discretion of the victim.

The right to be heard at any of the following court proceedings:

Bond Hearings: Any court action involving a bond reduction or modification at which the following occurs:

A bond is set lower than the scheduled or customary amount for the specific charge, including any adjustments made by the court to the amount of bond to correspond to the specific charge to which the defendant pled guilty or for which the defendant was convicted, if the adjusted bond is lower than the scheduled or customary amount for the specific charge;

A change in the type of bond;

A modification to a condition of the bond;

Jumping Bail – Failing To Appear And The Revocation Of Bail

Going Back To Jail

If a defendant “jumps bail” or fails to appear, then bail will be revoked. At that point, the defendant has lost the right to be free before trial. The court can issue an arrest warrant for the failure to appear (FTA). In most states, failing to appear is a crime. So, the defendant who jumps bail has the original criminal charge and an additional FTA criminal charge. The warrant remains active until the defendant’s capture.

The Forfeiture Of A Bond

If a defendant’s bail is revoked, the next step generally taken by the court is to forfeit the bail bond. In other words, any money or property put up to secure the defendant’s release is turned over to the court. In most states, procedures for bond forfeiture are set by law. An entry of a forfeiture order is usually mandatory. Virtually all state laws, allow for bond forfeiture when a defendant fails to make a court appearance.

Forfeiture of a bond requires notice be sent to the defendant and the surety, most likely a bail bondsman. Generally, before a forfeiture becomes final, the bail bondsman is given a certain period of time to bring the defendant in or explain the steps taken to locate a missing defendant. Some state laws give the defendant or bail bondsman a chance to explain the reason for the violation and possibly avoid the forfeiture. These reasons are sometimes known as mitigating factors and can include a defendant’s illness, physical disability or death. However, being in jail in another location isn’t a legitimate mitigating factor.

Bail Remission

Even though bond is forfeited, it’s still possible to have it set aside through remission. A bail remission motion is a request for a refund of money that was forfeited. Generally, these motions must be filed within a certain time, such as one year, from the date of forfeiture. Whether or not to grant relief from a forfeiture is usually within the trial court’s discretion. Courts consider whether justice requires the forfeiture. Typically, a forfeiture can be set aside if:

•The defendant wasn’t aware of the specific condition violated

•The defendant’s violation wasn’t willful

•The government incurred no expense in attempting to locate the defendant

•The government wasn’t prejudiced or damaged by the violation

Under Colorado Law forfeiture can be set aside in whole or in part.

If a defendant is out on bail, and wants to stay that way, showing up in court and following the conditions of release are crucial. The costs of one missed court date or violating a condition of release are financial and personal freedom.

The Liability of The Co-Signer Of The Bail Bond 

Another of the bail bond dangers centers on the liability of a co-singer. In the case of any bond–except one for very small bonds –a co-signer likely is required. If the defendant’s bond is revoked, not only is she responsible for paying the total amount of the bond set by the court but the co-signer has precisely the same obligation. The court can go so far as to attach a lien to the co-signer’s home or automobile and take other actions designed to collect the full amount of the bond from the co-signer.

Withdrawal of Bond 

Withdrawal of the bond at the discretion of the bondsman is another danger. Under the law, the bail bondsman possesses the power to withdraw the bond for a specific reason or for no reason whatsoever. If this occurs, you immediately are incarcerated pending your ability to post a new bond. However, another bail bond company or agent may shy away from aiding you because of the withdrawal of your initial bond.

Having Bail Revoked Can Be Very Costly For the Defendant 

If a defendant’s bail is revoked, they end up back in jail and the bail money is lost.  According to the bail bonds contract, the fee is earned when the defendant is released from jail. 

If the bail agreement is violated and the Court or bail agent revokes the bond, the bail bond company is not responsible for refunding the bail fee.  If for some reason you go back to jail and need another bail bond, you have to start over with a new contract and another bail bond fee.  As you can see, this can get quite expensive. 

In some situations, the Court may be hesitant about releasing a defendant on another bond.  Therefore, the defendant is put into a terrible situation of still owing the bail bond fee while they sit in jail awaiting trail.  Additionally, if the Court does allow another bail, it could be at a much higher fee. 

Knowing and fully understanding how the bail bond process works is very beneficial to the defendant and indemnitor.  Also, it is very important to understand the “terms of release” by the Court, and of the bail bond contract.  Be sure to take the time and speak with your bail bond agent and ask questions if you don’t understand.  It will save you time and money in the long run.

Finally….

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 29 years. For the First 13 years, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County DA – career prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations.

If you feel the need to discuss your case right now with H. Michael please call his cell (720) 220-2277, otherwise call his office during normal business hours, or fill out the Contact form on this site. From our office in Denver, Colorado, he represent clients throughout the Front Range of the State of Colorado.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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