If you are charged with a crime in Missouri, you are generally entitled to be released on bond pending trial or appeal.
The judge sets a bond when issuing an arrest warrant. If you are arrested without a warrant, you must be brought before a judge within 24 hours. At that time, the judge will decide whether to issue a warrant, and if so, the amount and conditions of bond. In Missouri this is generally done through paperwork reviewed by the judge rather than in-person.
Monetary Bond and Bond Schedules:
Frequently, judges will set a monetary bond, requiring the person to pay money they risk losing if they fail to appear.
Some Missouri counties use a pre-set bond schedule, allowing a person to post bond before the case is reviewed by a judge.
Boone and Callaway Counties, for example, have a local rule establishing bond schedules. Under the rule, if you are arrested for certain offenses, you have the option of asking the judge to set bond (which may take up to 24 hours) or to post an amount set by the schedule.
Even under the schedule, there are certain offenses that may require review by the judge before bond is set. In Boone and Callaway, a judge must review the case to set bond if:
- You ask the judge to set a bond (for example, to set bond at something less than the bond schedule),
- The charge is an unclassified felony (some sex offenses are unclassified) or an A or B felony other than possession of a controlled substance,
- The charge is escape from custody or confinement.
Under the schedule, arrests for multiple felony offenses can result in cumulative bonds (e.g. an arrest for forgery and felony stealing would be two D felonies – $4,500 + $4,500 = total of $9,000).
Surety Bonds/Hiring a Bondsperson
Often people post monetary bonds through hiring surety. Sometimes called a bondsperson, a surety charges you a fee and generally requires signing a contract that you must abide by. If you hire a surety, the surety agrees to pay the bond if you fail to appear for court.
It is possible to post a bond in cash or for the judge to order the bond to be “cash only.” On a cash-only bond, you must actually pay that amount of bond to the court in order to be released.
One important thing to remember about posting a cash bond is that the money posted becomes the property of the person being bonded. When the case is resolved, the money goes back to that person and not whoever provided the money. Judgement creditors of the person bonded may be able to recover the money to pay debts. Also, the court might take out some of the money to pay restitution, court costs, or other fees.
It is possible for the judge to deny bond based on a judge’s finding that the person poses a danger to the crime victim, community, or any other person. Changes to the Missouri bond rules in the last few years that were designed to reduce bonds may have actually increased the number of no-bond warrants. An attorney can help you understand your options if you are in custody on a no-bond warrant.
If you have a question about bonds or need help with a criminal matter, reach out to us today.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Roger W. Johnson nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.