Bond is set within 48 hours of arrest.  One of the most frequent questions I encounter in my practice is “can you get me a bond reduction?”

Rule 9.2 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure address factors that the judge should take into consideration when setting bail.  The rule says that the judge should consider all relevant facts to the risk of nonappearance in court including:

1.) The length and character of the defendant’s residence in the community.
2.)  His employment status, history and financial condition.
3.) His reputation, character and mental condition.
4.)  His past history of response to the legal process.
5.)  His prior criminal record.
6.)  The identity of responsible members of the community who vouch for the defendant’s reliability.
7.)  The nature of the current charge, the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence, in so far as these factors are relevant to nonappearance.
8.)  Any other factors indication the defendant’s roots in the community.

If you or a loved one are being held on a bond you believe is too high your attorney can ask for the court to set a hearing to address bond.  I can usually get a bond hearing set within a few days.   At the hearing the defense and the state can call witnesses to testify as to facts relevant to all the factors listed above.  Generally it is helpful if you can show the court that you have a job; you have family in the area; that you have never failed to appear in court before; and that you have a good reputation in the community.

Typical bonds vary from county to county.  I have found that bonds are higher in Benton County than they are in Washington County.  They are higher in Boone and Newton Counties than they are in Benton County.  Judges get used to a baseline bond which they usually set for a certain crime and they adjust accordingly based on whatever facts are presented to them.

Sometimes a deputy prosecutor can be persuaded to stipulate to a bond amount (commonly called a “stip bond”).  This is simply an agreement between the defense and the state that a certain bond amount is appropriate.  It is drawn up into an agreed order and presented to the judge.  If the judge approves he/she signs the order and the bond is set.