How Long Can You Be Held Without Bond in Pennsylvania?
When a judge decides how to set a criminal defendant’s bail, the defendant must post bond to be released until their trial. Many defendants want to know how long they can be held if they cannot post bond.
If defendants cannot post bond, they may be held in jail until their trial. Defendants unable to post bond may spend weeks or even months in jail without a conviction while they wait for their trials to begin. You should speak to an attorney immediately, as being held for too long might begin to interfere with your rights. If you are facing an upcoming bail hearing, you should note several common reasons people are held without bond, including bail being denied, revoked, or unaffordable. If you are in jail and cannot post bond, our team can help you arrange a new bail hearing where we will ask for your bail to be reconsidered.
If you are in jail now or have a bail hearing coming up soon, our Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys can help you secure pretrial release. For a free assessment of your case, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.
How Long Can Someone Be Held in Jail Without Bond in Pennsylvania?
Deciding bail is an important step in the criminal justice process that often occurs fairly early in a criminal case. The court will use multiple factors to determine bail, including the nature and severity of the charged offenses and whether the defendant is a flight risk or a safety risk to the community. In some cases, defendants cannot post bond to be released from jail while they wait for their trial.
If you must wait in jail because you could not post bond, you must remain there until your trial is complete. How long this takes is difficult to say and depends on numerous factors. If the court in your jurisdiction is very busy, your trial might be scheduled for several weeks or even months away. During that time, you must stay in jail while your attorney handles your case from the outside.
There might be ways to avoid a long wait for a trial. For example, if your court is not very busy, your trial might be scheduled sooner, and you will spend less time waiting in jail. Alternatively, our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can check with the court about any changes to its schedule. If an earlier date suddenly becomes available, we can ask the court to move up your trial.
How Being Held Without Bond Affects Your Rights
Criminal defendants have many Constitutional rights that protect them from the power of law enforcement and the government. Two very important rights you should know about are your rights to a speedy trial and bail. Both rights are implicated when a defendant is held in jail without bond for a long time. You should call our Pennsylvania bail attorneys for help immediately if your loved one is in jail waiting for their trial.
Right to Bail
Your right to bail in Pennsylvania is not only enshrined in the United States Constitution but also under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5701. Under this law, all prisoners are bailable by sufficient sureties unless specific conditions exist. First, a prisoner can be denied bail if they are charged with a capital offense punishable by death or an offense punishable by life imprisonment. Second, a prisoner can be denied bail if there is no possible condition or combination of conditions that the court believes will ensure the safety of any person and the community when there is proof or a strong presumption that the prisoner poses a serious threat.
While you certainly have a right to bail, this right is not without its limits. You can be denied bail or have your bail revoked if the court believes it is necessary. However, you cannot be held without bond unless the conditions that allow the court to deny or revoke bail are present. For example, the court cannot deny your bail if you committed a minor offense like a misdemeanor. If they do, it violates your rights, and you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Right to a Speedy Trial
Criminal defendants also have a right to a speedy trial, meaning they cannot be made to wait for long periods before they have their day in court. Exactly how long is too long to be kept waiting is somewhat hard to determine and may vary from case to case. Under Pa. R. Crim. § 600(A)(2)(a), a trial in which a written complaint is filed against the defendant must commence within 365 days of the date the complaint is filed.
Typically, criminal defendants receive a trial within a year of being formally charged. Even so, defendants charged with more serious offenses sometimes wait longer than others because prosecutors and courts might want more time to get the case together. Even so, prosecutors might try to push back your court date for bogus reasons to buy themselves more time to prepare. If you believe you have been waiting for too long in jail, call our Easton, PA criminal defense attorneys for help now.
Reasons Defendants Cannot Make Bond in Pennsylvania
The numerous rules and considerations used to determine bail are found under Pa. R. Crim. § 523. While the court will consider many factors, they almost always examine the severity of the charges, whether the defendant is a flight or safety risk, and the defendant’s criminal record. Our Pennsylvania bail attorneys can help you highlight any mitigating factors in your case to keep your bail as low as possible.
Depending on how these criteria apply to your case, the court might set bail very high, and you might be unable to afford bond. If your alleged crime was very serious, you have a lengthy criminal record, or you have skipped bail before, you are more likely to face higher bail, and posting bond will be harder.
In some cases, defendants are released with a bond but get their bond revoked by the judge. This is often because the defendant allegedly violated the terms of their bail. When a judge decides upon bail, they do not just determine the amount of money the defendant must pay. They also decide the rules and requirements the defendant must abide by while on pretrial release. For example, defendants are required to remain free of any criminal activity when they are released. The judge might revoke your bail if you are arrested again, even for a minor offense.
Call Our Pennsylvania Bail Attorneys for Help Posting Bond
If your loved one has been waiting in jail for a very long time without bond or if they have an upcoming bail hearing, our Doylestown criminal defense attorneys can help them. For a free case assessment, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.