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In Virginia, to be released from pre-trial confinement, will I need to use the services of a bail bond agent?

Whether you will need to utilize the services of a bail bonding company in order to be released from custody while awaiting trial depends upon both the decision made by the magistrate or judge, and your personal financial position. 

Initially, as discussed in other FAQs, in Virginia the magistrate will decide whether release from pre-trial confinement is an option for you, and if so, under what conditions.  The judge can review and overrule the magistrate's decision after considering evidence and arguments presented at a bond hearing.  After you have gone through the process there are three general results. 

(1) You could be held in jail without possibility of release (without bond).  If this happens, it means the magistrate and/or judge(s) in Virginia believed that no condition or combination of conditions would reasonably guarantee your return to court and reasonably protect the public.  If you are held without bond you will remain incarcerated in a Virginia jail until your trial.  

(2) You could be given a secured bond.  If this happens, it means that the Virginia magistrate and/or judge believed that you did not necessarily need to be held in jail until your trial, but that certain conditions were necessary to reasonably guarantee your return to court and to reasonably protect the public.  So, when you have been given a secured bond it means your release has been authorized if you meet certain conditions.  Generally speaking, requiring security for the bond stems from the belief that a person will behave while awaiting trial and return to court for the trial if failing to do so would cause the person to lose a certain sum of money or something of value.  Although property is occasionally used as security, in Virginia the most common term is "cash or corporate surety" - which means money.  For example, a Virginia magistrate or Virginia judge may set bond at "$10,000 secured - cash or corporate surety." 

This is the situation in which the services of a Virginia bail bond agent may be necessary.  If your financial position is such that you can pay the entire amount of the secured bond then you will not need the assistance of a Virginia bail bonding company.  If you pay the entire bond yourself, and meet all the other conditions while the case is pending, the entire amount will be refunded to you at the conclusion of the case.  

On the other hand, if you are not able to pay the entire amount of the secured bond, you can enlist the services of a Virgnia bail bond company to help you.  Generally speaking, instread of having to pay the entire amount of the secured bond, you pay a Virginia bail bonding company a non-refundable fee equal to approximately 10% of the secured bond, and the bail bonding company is responsible for making sure you appear in court.   

(3) You could be released on an unsecured bond.  If this happens it means your situation was such that the Virginia magistrate and/or judge determined that no security was needed to guarantee your return to court and the safety of the public, so you did not have to pay any money and you were released after promising to appear in court for all scheduled court dates.  Sometimes this is called being released "on your own recognizance".    

If you have questions about pre-trial confinement, bond hearing, the use of bondsmen or any other matter related to Virginia Criminal Defense, call The Wilson Law Firm at 703-361-6100 or 540-347-4944 and a knowledgeable, experienced and successful Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer will be happy to discuss these issues with you in more detail. 

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