Exclusively Practicing Criminal Defense for
Two Decades
David Olshansky

Bond Hearings / Bond Reductions

The state of Illinois provides the right of bail or bond hearing to every person who has been arrested on account of an illegal activity. Getting bail involves filling out an undertaking and setting aside money for a bond with the concerned law-enforcement authorities.

In the case of misdemeanors, bond is usually set at the police station without the need for a bond hearing in court.

For cases of felony however, the person must have a bond hearing before a judge in a court. The judge has the discretion to set a high bond or no bond for a person, depending on the severity of the crime.

In Illinois there are different types of Bond:

  1. I-Bond; known as a personal recognizance bond is provided to individuals who are at a very low risk to re-offend and pose a very small danger to the community. These bonds allow the charged individual to get out of custody simply by signing a bond slip which requires their appearance at a future Court date.
  2. D-Bond; this bond is a bond wherein the judge has decided that the detainee needs to pay a certain amount of money to secure his release from jail. The amount that needs to be paid is called the amount Posted. In a D-Bond situation in Illinois the person needs to post 10% of the amount that the Judge determines will protect society and insure the defendant’s appearance in Court. For example, If the Judge sets a $25,000 D-Bond the defendant will only have to pay $2,500 to secure their release.
  3. C-Bond; this bond is called a Cash Bond. It is the same as the above D-Bond except that the defendant will have to pay 100% of the amount that the Judge determines needs to be paid.
  4. Property Bond; After a judge has set bond if the amount is to high for an individual to pay they may be able to post property to allow their release. This is a lengthy and difficult process which includes bank statements, Title Searches, and several Court hearings. If the Property Bond is Granted the property is temporally transferred into the property of the State and held until the finial outcome of the charges. At the end of the case, whether a finding of Not Guilty or Guilty, so long as the defendant has not fled, the title of the property will be transferred back to the legal title owner. The original title owner of the property will be entitled to maintain their property and use of the property if the defendant does not violate the conditions of their release.
  5. No Bond; In certain situations the State may request that the defendant is held with No Bond. Essentially there will be a hearing in which the judge determines that there is no amount of money that would secure the defendant’s appearance in court or the safety of society.
  6. There are other bonds available such as Electronic Monitoring and GPS Monitoring, both of which include ‘Ankle Bracelets”. The Judge could also add curfews, check-in with a monitoring authority such as the probation office or Pretrial Services.
State Legislation

The legislation for bond courts is covered by 725 ILCS 5/110. The article states that the defendant will be required to pledge sureties and guarantees to the court, either monetary or otherwise, as the conditions for release.

The court may grant bail to the defendant against the security, either before or after conviction. The court shall grant bail to the defendant after it has been convinced that the defendant will not pose a danger to any person and will comply with all conditions of the bond.

Bail may be granted by court for all offenses except in cases where it is evident that the defendant is guilty.

A court may not grant bail for capital offenses or in cases where it is clear that the release of the defendant would pose a real threat to the safety of any person.

Amount of Bail Money

The judge will take a number of factors into consideration before setting an amount for bail. These factors include the following.

  • The nature of the charges against the defendant,
  • Evidence of use of violence by the defendant,
  • The flight risk of the defendant,
  • The accused criminal history,
  • Whether the offense charged is non-probationable and carries mandatory jail time,
  • Whether the offense involved corruption of public officials,
  • Evidence of violence used against public officials, children, people with disabilities, senior citizens or court witnesses during the offense,
  • Weight of evidence against the defendant,
  • Whether the offense was motivated by racial, religious, ethnic or sexual orientation factors,
  • The motivation or ability for the defendant to flee during bail,
  • Other factors include the defendant’s financial resources, employment, character and mental condition.
Considerations for Bond Hearing and Bond Reduction

The bond proceedings always take place before the commencement of the trial. It is a crucial part of the whole process because it is the first opportunity that the lawyer gets to present a positive image of the defendant to the court.

It is an opportunity for the defense team to say good and positive things about the defendant. A good legal counsel may be able to argue for a very low bond amount or even convince the judge for a no cash bond. A no cash bond requires an undertaking on the part of the defendant to commit to certain court conditions and merely sign the bond without depositing any money with the Clerk of the Court. It is an ideal position, though a rare occurrence.

The bond money can also be used to pay the defense attorney’s fee. This allows the defendant to stay free while the case proceeds through the court.

After Bond is set at the initial Bond Hearing that un financially not an obtainable realistic option for the defendant there is always the possibility that the defense attorney can make a motion to reduce the bond. At this motion the defense attorney will be bettered informed of the facts of the case and more familiar with the defendant and his family then at the initial hearing. If the judge takes all new facts into consideration the Bond may be lowered by the Judge or some of the conditions of the bond may be undone, such as permission to leave the state and travel.

Examples and Court Cases for Bond

Recently, a man in Joliet was charged with opening fire on an unmarked police car. The bond court initially set the bail at $1 million.

The defendant, D’Amonta Barber, 18, requested that the $1 million bond be reduced to $30,000. The defense attorney had appealed that the bond was set excessively high given his young defendant’s inability to pay and this was a violation of the state law.

The county judge agreed to lower the bond to $500,000. The defendant would need to pay at least 10% of this amount to post bail.

Barber has been charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. He was arrested along with another man after they fired shots at an unmarked police vehicle in January.

In a separate case, the judge took a strict line and set a high bond amount for defendants charged with violent assault and sex solicitation.

The four defendants Anthony, Richard, Joshua and Alexis have been accused of luring two unsuspecting young men for sex into an apartment. When the first victim arrived, the three suspects jumped him. They beat him up before stealing his cell phone, wallet and car keys.

Another victim showed up after a few hours and the three suspects did the same thing to him.

During the bond hearing, it was revealed that the suspects had prior criminal records. The prosecution charged them with Class X armed robbery felonies and the judge was in no mood to show leniency.

He asked the first defendant how much money he had available for bail. When the defendant responded that he could post $1,000 for bail, the Judge set the bail amount at $500,000. He asked the same question of the second, third and fourth defendants. None of them had more than a few thousand dollars with them and the judge proceeded to set bail at $500,000 for each one of them.

It should be noted that no firearms were involved with this case. While the prosecution had charged the defendants with Class X armed robbery felonies, there appears to be no weapons involved.

It should also be noted that the defendants do not appear to have had enough money to get a legal defense team. If convicted under a Class X felony, each one of them could be facing jail for 6 to 20 years.

Advantages of Legal Defense during Bond Hearings

If you are facing a charge under Illinois criminal system, it is very important to get a good defense team on your side from the very first stage of bond hearing. While bond hearings are not actually considered part of the trial itself, they do allow defendants to set a good first impression on the judge.

A competent, legal team can provide the judge with positive elements of the defendant’s life. This helps counteract the negative portrayal of the defendant by the prosecution. Furthermore, a defense team’s knowledge of the legal system will allow them to argue for a much lower bail, as they can effectively argue against a bail that is set too high.