A detention hearing will be held (unless it is waived) either at the Initial Appearance or a few days later. At this hearing, the magistrate judge will decide whether you should be incarcerated prior to trial or whether you will be permitted to be released pending trial, with or without conditions of release. The Bail Reform Act requires the court to impose the least restrictive set of conditions reasonably necessary to secure the defendant’s appearance and protect the safety of the community. Sometimes the magistrate judge determines there are no set of conditions sufficient to ensure the defendant’s appearance and/or protect the community and therefore, detention is ordered. If you ask for pretrial release, you and your lawyer will have to come up with a plan for where you will live and with whom, and what, if any, additional conditions should be imposed.
The magistrate judge will consider the following factors in making the detention determination: the nature and circumstances of the offense charged; the weight of the evidence; the history and characteristics of the defendant, including, the defendant’s character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug and alcohol abuse, criminal history, record of appearance (or nonappearance) at previous court appearances, whether the defendant was on probation, parole or other release at the time of the current offense, and the potential danger posed to any person in the community by defendant’s release.
Your lawyer knows the leanings of the magistrate judges and is your best source for information about whether you will likely be released. The federal courts in our district have abolished money bonds but conditions are imposed on all pretrial releases. Common conditions of release include: You may not commit additional crimes, you must appear for all court hearings, you must be on electronic monitoring, you may not use a computer or you must agree to a computer monitoring device being installed on your electronic devices, your residence may be searched at any time, you may not use illegal drugs or alcohol to excess (or at all), you may not be in the company of children, you must reside at a halfway house, and many more.