If you have been accused of a crime then you generally have a right to bail pending your trial. It’s a fundamental part of the US criminal justice system; the law considers individuals innocent until convicted guilty, and being free to go about usual life is a part of this.
Bail after conviction is much less common and can be difficult to achieve. An experienced lawyer or bondsman can help you to negotiate this.
What situations can bail be granted after conviction?
Bail Before Sentencing
Typically a sentence is served as soon as a guilty verdict is decided, but this isn’t true for all cases. Sometimes the court may need further time to decide on the sentence. Some things that are taken into account are criminal history, the crime committed, and pleas from yourself and your lawyer. You may not be granted a release on bail until the sentence is decided.
Is bail likely before sentencing?
Offer of bail may not be considered lightly. The longer the estimated length of the sentence, the less likely you will be to receive bail. The court will consider various additional factors:
- Record of appearance at court dates
- Potential threat to yourself and others
- Good connections to the community (such as family and employment)
- No or minor past convictions
- Work commitments
- Handling child custody, power of attorney etc..
If you are seen as a minimal flight risk, you may be given time to take care of things before serving your sentence. Typically this only applies for shorter sentences, and regulations vary from state to state.
Bail After Sentencing (During Appeal)
If there are good grounds for you to appeal the guilty verdict then you may be released on bail until the appeal is heard. The chances of bail after sentencing varies per state, as the state of Connecticut puts it: “Connecticut law allows a person who has been convicted of any offense to be eligible for bail while waiting for sentencing or an appeal. The court may release the person unless it finds that custody is necessary to assure appearance in court.” It goes on to say “Post conviction bail is a matter within the court’s discretion under the statute. It is “entirely disassociated from the preconviction presumption of innocence”.
Bail during an appeal doesn’t happen often. Many states don’t allow bail if the conviction was for a serious or violent crime, such as rape or murder.
Judges may also consider the chance of a defendant continuing to commit non-violent crimes during the appeal process.
If your jail sentence is shorter than the length of time it would take to resolve the appeal (usually a year or so) then there are reasonable grounds for being released on bail, even if you have been found guilty.
Experienced criminal defense lawyers and bail bondsmen can advise you on the appeal process and the possibility of being granted bail, as well as advising on the conditions of bail.
Oliver Neely is a content writer for 3-D Bail Bonds in Connecticut. He produces articles which aim to simplify and demystify the often complex and intimidating US justice system.