Hello and welcome back to Attorney Paz’s rants of a criminal defense attorney. This week, I want to talk about conditions of release. You can listen along by viewing my video on this subject which is available on my Facebook page.
Standard Conditions of Release
Once you are arrested and you go to court for your arraignment, the judge is going to put conditions of release on you. And in addition to what you normally consider conditions of release, i.e. bond which means you pay money to get out of court, there are also non-financial conditions of release that the judge can put on you. And to be honest, anything and everything under the sun seems to be fair game. For example in a family case, a condition of your release will also include to abide by a protective order. If you violate the protective order, in addition to being arrested for violating the protective order, you can also be charged with violating the conditions of your release, and also your bond then would be increased.
Other Conditions of Release
Additionally what I have seen some courts do is, say you pick up a domestic, and your child is involved somehow in the case. DCF now gets called, DCF starts their investigation. Whereas the statutes and the Constitution would normally provide you with the right not to cooperate with DCF, you then go to criminal court and criminal court then says, “well, as a condition of your release, I’m making it mandatory for you to cooperate with DCF.” So that opens up a whole other can of worms.
Lately, the immediate cause for this rant is they can also stick an ankle bracelet on you and say, “well you could have a curfew, you can only leave your house between this hour and this hour, or you can have complete home confinement, you can’t leave your house at all except for court and medical purposes.” Now, in this particular situation that I’m talking about, this guy has been on house arrest, completely can’t leave his home, for months. Now, imagine you are unable to go to work, go to school, go buy groceries, pick up your children from school, and that’s what’s happening to this man. Essentially, the court system is now making him homeless. Because he can’t go to work, he doesn’t have any money, he can’t pay his bills, he’s getting evicted. Every time I go to court, the court just basically shrugs its shoulders and says, “well, I’m not modifying anything, if he doesn’t have a place where he can stay on the outside, I can provide him with housing on the inside.”
There are very minimal ways for us to review these conditions of release, the trial court has a lot of leeway and authority in these cases because they’re considered to be closer to the case and have the best knowledge on what is needed to ensure the presence of the defendant in court and also protect the community. But there is a direct appeal process by which the Appellate Court can review your conditions of release. But to be perfectly honest, it’s not a full out appeal, it’s just a review, and most of those reviews don’t go anywhere. I did appeal one last year and it didn’t go anywhere.
That’s my rant for the day. If you get picked up, there are motions to modify the conditions of your release, you can have a full out hearing on it. One of the hearings if you get a full no contact protective order kicking you out of your house, you can file for something called a Fernando A. hearing. You’re entitled to a complete and full evidentiary hearing about whether the state can bear the burden of showing that this level of protective order is necessary for the protection of the complainant, and you should definitely insist on these types of hearings. You should talk to a lawyer about it, but be prepared when you go to court for the judge to not only put bond on you, but also put on you non-financial conditions of release. So that’s my rant for the day. Give me a call or email me at [email protected] and as always, take care, don’t get arrested, and see you soon.