February 27th, 2017 by Attorney Dan Carman
Still, there are many who spend time in jail or who must pay money in the form of bail long before their cases are proven in court. The time between a person’s arrest and an actual trial can be significant, so taking advantage of Kentucky Pretrial Services is important. In most states, bail money can be gathered with the help of bail bondsmen, but this is not the case in Kentucky, as it was the first state to abolish commercial bail in 1976. This was to prevented third parties from profiting from those who had a hard time coming up with bail money. Instead, the state went to a unified court system that includes pretrial services across the state. This system is designed to help determine how much bail, if any, is appropriate in an individual case. Under Kentucky law, a defendant’s release after their initial arrest should have limited restrictions, unless it is determined that there is a good reason for the court to be more restrictive. The following situations can potentially mean an increase in bail:
- If the defendant is assessed to be a flight risk — Factors such as an individual’s ties to the community or a history of missed court dates may be considered in order to attempt to get bail denied or to ask the court to set bail higher than a standard amount.
- If it is determined that the defendant poses a risk to public safety
- If the defendant has a history of violent criminal convictions or they are charged with a serious violent crime, bail will likely be set higher.
- When the defendant is convicted of or enters a plea admitting to involvement in a commercial sexual activity as defined by Kentucky law
Role of a Lawyer
While there are attempts to safeguard defendants from being overcharged bail fees, or being kept in jail due to their inability to pay them, the assistance of a good defense lawyer from the beginning is highly beneficial. The Kentucky Pretrial Release Manual indicates that those who retain an attorney during the their first appearance are more than twice as likely to be released based on their own recognizance, and over four times more likely to have their bail amount significantly lessened. Defendants represented by a lawyer also serve an average of nine fewer days in jail and report being treated more fairly overall by the system.
Even those who might be considered high risk benefit from an attorney’s knowledge of their rights under the United States Constitution, particularly the Eighth Amendment that speaks specifically against excessive bail and fines. A defense attorney can help counteract any negative statements made by the prosecution with positive information and can suggest alternatives to jail, such as supervision or monitoring to allow the suspect as much freedom as possible, so long as they keep their commitments to the court.
Asserting Your Rights
Our laws state that suspects should retain as much freedom as possible while they are awaiting trial. This allows those accused of a crime to maintain their work and family situations, and it also saves resources that would be used to keep a person incarcerated unnecessarily. Being stuck in jail, or being asked to raise money for bail when you cannot afford it, can cause many financial hardships and creates unnecessary personal strain on a suspect and their family. If you’re arrested, exercising your right to an attorney isn’t something that should be delayed until your first hearing. You should have your risk assessment within 24 hours of arrest and continue to keep an attorney by your side throughout the process.
At the Lexington, KY-based Carman Law Firm, we fight for the rights of the accused every day. If you or your loved one has concerns about pretrial issues such as release on bond, discuss it with one of our criminal defense attorneys. Call us today at (859) 685-1055 or fill out this online contact form to put our thorough, experienced representation to work.