The Basics of Bonding Out in Chicago
If you're reading this, it's probably for a family member or loved one whose been arrested. It's good to learn bonding out basics now, because getting a bond is one of the first and most important things that can happen in the case.
My name is Chris Shepherd and as a Chicago bond lawyer since 2005, I know getting a bond that you and your family can afford is crucial to your case for several reasons. A defendant who is out on bond:
- can live at home instead of in jail while he fights his case in court,
- can more easily help his lawyer prepare a defense and
- looks better in front of judges and prosecutors because a defendant out on bond usually has ties to the community, family and resources to draw from.
What Will Happen at Bond Court?
Generally, one of three things will happen at a bond court hearing. The judge can give you an “I” bond. This is the best possible outcome, because it means you won't have to put up any money to be released while your case is going on.
Normally in felony cases, however, the judge will require the defendant to post some money in order to secure his return to court; this is called a “D” bond.
It's also possible that the judge orders home detention on an electronic monitoring program. Note that the days spent on home detention/electronic monitoring often count as “time served” towards any sentence, if any, imposed in the future. 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-100
The worst possible thing that can happen at a bond hearing is for the judge to give the defendant no bond at all. In fact, in some cases, the judge is required to deny bail unless the bond lawyer can prove that the proof against the client is weak.
Am I Going to Get a Bond or Not? If So, How Much Will It Be?
As with all things legal, there is no simple answer to this question. We can, however, look to the legal guidelines that govern bond court hearings. Because many lawyers do not know these rules, and because your bond judge certainly does, it is important to refer to and use them when arguing for a bond. Here are just a few of the factors that can help you secure a bond:
- Military Service,
- No gang allegiance,
- A non-violent nature,
- No history of failing to appear in court on other charges,
- Roots in the community as evidenced by family ties, property ownership and many years living in the area,
- And many more.
Finally, if you are charged with possession or delivery of cannabis, cocaine or heroin, the court will also consider the “street value” of the alleged drugs. In cases involving large amounts of these drugs, it is important to highlight flaws or weaknesses in the case during your bond hearing.
Getting Out on Bond When Prosecutors Have Filed a Request for a Source of Bail Hearing
In some case, a judge has set a bond and the family has the money to post bail, but there is a hold preventing release. This can happen when prosecutors file a request with the court for proof that the bond funds come from a legal source. These requests are filed more often in drug cases than in violent crime or sex cases because of the revenue generating nature of drug trafficking.
Being unprepared for the government's request for a source of bail can cause your friend or family member several extra days, and possibly even weeks, in jail. Getting out on bond when prosecutors have filed a source of bail is a highly specialized area that an experienced Chicago bond lawyer should be prepared to deal with.
Where Will the Bond Hearing Take Place?
Chicago arrests are usually brought to Central Bond Court in Room 100 at 2600 South California, Chicago, Illinois, unless the arrest is for Domestic Violence. In Domestic Battery cases, the bond hearing will normally be at the Chicago courthouse at 555 W. Harrison.
If the arrest happened in the suburbs, bond court is in one of the satellite courthouses in Maywood, Rolling Meadows, Bridgeview, Markham or Skokie, depending on what police department made the arrest. While the suburban courthouses have bond court Monday through Saturday, Chicago's Central Bond Court can hold bail hearings seven days a week.
How Can I Pay the Bond?
You may pay bonds with credit card, bank or cashier's check, or cash in Cook County. Visit the Cook County Sheriff's website for specifics on how to post bond in Cook County.
Need to Talk?
If you're in the bond hearing stage, the case is still new and your emotions are probably very raw. Getting the facts and a strategic plan on what to do next can help greatly.