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How to Reduce Bond in a Criminal Case

Normally, a judge in Illinois sets bond when a felony charge is issued.  When the charge is a misdemeanor a police officer typically set the amount pursuant to Supreme Court Rule.  For a DUI the bond amount is either $100.00 plus an Illinois Drivers License or $300.00 cash.  A low level felony will typically range from $10,000 to $25,000 however only 10% of that amount need be posted to secure the release of a defendant.  If the initial amount is too high there are two options.  One is to file a motion to reduce bond.  This type of motion is routinely heard by criminal court judges.  The issues addressed during the hearing are the nature of the offense, prior criminal history, if the defendant has resided in county for a period of years, educational background, job history, whether the defendant cares for minors or other dependents, and how long the person has resided in jail.  Health issues may also play a part of the judge's decision.  The judge hears arguments from both the State and defense counsel.  The judge decides whether to release a person on a reduced bail amount.  Most times the court will at least partially grant the motions.  The results are very fact specific and vary greatly depending on the charge.  

The second option is to post a realty bond.  In Illinois property posted as bond must be unemcumbered (no loans against it) and be valued at twice the full bond amount.  So for instance, if bond is $50,000, the property would need to be appraised at $100,000.  Property bonds are not commonly used in Illinois.

In the above option, if the defendant were unable to post a property bond they could instead post $5,000 cash.  

Bond may be revoked should one out on bail be charged with another subsequent offense.  Many times this is discretionary with the individual State's Attorney charging the new case.   If bail is revoked the defendant may file to reinstate bond.  The judge has full discretion whether to allow the motion.  Bond may also be forfeited if a person fails to comply with terms of the bond such as not being charged with a new criminal offense.  

If your bond is too high immediately contact a qualified attorney to file and argue the motion.  

Brian L. Polinske
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