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Understanding the Crime of a Violation of Colorado’s Bail Bond Law

First: What is a Bail Bond?

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Provides this Excellent Explanation

1. What is Bail?

Bail is an amount of money or property that is deposited with a court by a person who has been charged with a crime, known as a “defendant.”

  • A defendant who has been arrested for a crime will usually be held in custody until some form of bail has been posted.
  • Bail is the defendant’s guarantee to be present at all court proceedings.
2. Do I Have a Right to Release on Bail?

Yes, for most offenses, except murder and certain violent felonies. A judge sets the amount of

bail to give the accused person enough incentive to return willingly to the rest of his or her court appearances.

3. How Is the Amount of Bail Set?

The amount and type of bail are fixed by the judge at the first appearance before the court. A court will consider the defendant’s individual circumstances when the amount of bail is set.

The bail amount must be sufficient to ensure that the defendant will appear for all scheduled proceedings.

A court must also consider the safety of the community, the seriousness of the alleged crime and the Defendant’s record.

What Are the Most Common Types of Bail Bonds?

All bail bonds are “appearance bonds.” Appearance bonds can be posted by a bail bonding agent.

“Personal recognizance bonds” and “property bonds” are obtained from a court.

What is a “Personal Recognizance Bond”?

A “personal recognizance bond”, when authorized by a court, permits release from custody on the defendant’s “personal recognizance”, which is a promise to appear as required by a court.

It is not necessary to deposit money with the court. Failure to appear will result in the issuance of an arrest warrant. The district attorney must consent to a defendant’s release on personal recognizance bond in any case involving:

  • felony charges
  • class I misdemeanor charges
  • defendant’s prior conviction of a felony within the last 5 years
  • defendant’s prior conviction of a class I misdemeanor within the last 2 years, or
  • defendant’s previous failure to appear on a bail bond.
6. What is a “Property Bond”?

A “property bond” may only be obtained from a court.

  • If the court permits, a defendant may be allowed to deposit cash or other valuable property to be held by the clerk as a guarantee that the defendant will appear as required.
  • Some jurisdictions allow property bonds guaranteed by a pledge of unencumbered equity in Colorado real estate. Equity of no less than 1-1/2 times the bail amount is required.
  • Other courts do not allow real estate to be used as a property bond. Requirements and procedures for property bonds vary between jurisdictions.
7. What is a Bail Bonding Agent?

A bail bonding agent posts a defendant’s appearance bond and guarantees that the defendant will appear whenever required.

  • Bail bonding agents must be licensed by the State and have an appointment from an insurance company or be a qualified cash bonding agent.
  • Bail bonding agents are paid a premium, which is usually nonrefundable, to post the bond.
  • If the defendant fails to appear, the court may order the bond “forfeited” and require the bonding agent to pay the court the full amount of the bond. Bail bonding agents have the right to apprehend, return the defendant to custody, and to use collateral taken for the bond to pay the bond forfeiture and costs.
8. What are “Bond Conditions”?

The defendant must also agree to meet certain requirements known as “conditions.” The most important condition is that the defendant appear at all hearings.

  • Failure to appear may result in arrest and forfeiture of the bond amount. “Failure to Appear” is a separate criminal offense that can result in imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year and the loss of eligibility for probation or suspended sentence. (§ 18-8-212, C.R.S.)
  • Other standard conditions prohibit the defendant from committing a crime or leaving Colorado while released on bail.
  • The defendant must acknowledge the existence of a mandatory restraining order that prohibits contact with witnesses or the alleged victim.
  • Defendants are commonly required to immediately notify the court of any change in residence or mailing address.
9. Am I Required to Appear at All Court Hearings?

Yes. The most important condition of the bond is your agreement to appear at each and every court hearing. It is your responsibility to know where and when those hearings are set.

What Happens If I Fail to Appear in Court as Required?

The court may issue a warrant for your arrest, revoke your bond or increase the amount of your bond.

  • You may also be charged with a completely new crime, known as “failure to appear.”
  • The bail bond may be forfeited and the property or money deposited as collateral for the bail bond may be lost.
11. What Should I Do If I Miss a Court Appearance Date?

It is important for you to act quickly. If you posted a bond with a bail bonding agent, contact the agent immediately.

  • The bail bonding agent may provide you with a “consent of surety.” You must take the consent of surety to the court clerk and ask for a new court date.
  • If you did not post a bond through a bonding agent, then go to the court clerk as soon as possible and make arrangements for a new court date.
  • In either case, a warrant was probably issued for your arrest for failure to appear.
12. What Is a Consent of Surety?

A “consent of surety” is a written document that you get from your bail bonding agent. Bail bonding agents are not required to give you a consent of surety. (If you cannot get a consent of surety, you may be required to post a new bond.) You may need a consent of surety for:

  • Bond Reinstatement. If you have failed to appear in court when required, the bond may be void unless you obtain a consent.
  • Bond Continuance. If you are convicted, plead guilty, nolo contendere, or there is an order of deferred prosecution or deferred judgment, your bond will automatically expire unless you obtain a consent of surety for the appearance bond to continue until your sentencing date.
  • Permission to leave Colorado. Along with the court’s consent, a consent of surety is required for you to leave Colorado while released on bond.
13. Has a Court Order Been Issued to Protect Victims and Witnesses?

Yes. There is an automatic “mandatory restraining order” that is in effect from when the defendant is advised of rights at arraignment to the final disposition of any appeal.

The defendant is automatically restrained from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts charged. Violation of this mandatory restraining order can result in separate criminal charges. (§ 18-1-1001, C.R.S.)

Second: Violation of Bail Bond Conditions – the Hidden Danger

Here is the Law in Colorado on the Crime of Violation of a Bail Bond Condition

18-8-212. Violation of Bail Bond Conditions
  1. A person who is released on bail bond of whatever kind, and either before, during, or after release is accused by complaint, information, indictment, or the filing of a delinquency petition of any felony arising from the conduct for which he was arrested, commits a class 6 felony if he knowingly fails to appear for trial or other proceedings in the case in which the bail bond was filed or if he knowingly violates the conditions of the bail bond.
  2. A person who is released on bail bond of whatever kind, and either before, during, or after release is accused by complaint, information, indictment, or the filing of a delinquency petition of any misdemeanor arising from the conduct for which he was arrested, commits a class 3 misdemeanor if he knowingly fails to appear for trial or other proceedings in the case in which the bail bond was filed or if he knowingly violates the conditions of the bail bond.
  3. A person convicted under this section shall not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence and shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than one year for violation of subsection (1) of this section and not less than six months for violation of subsection (2) of this section. Any such sentence shall be served consecutively with any sentence for the offense on which the person is on bail. H. Michael Steinberg NOTE: ( this is the hidden danger – IF you are convicted of this provision – which is VERY easy for the DA to prove – the Judge has no choice but to sentence you to prison for at least ONE YEAR – and that sentence runs consecutive – that is – it follows in sequence AFTER you serve the first sentence …. DA’s often use this provision to shore up a weak case or to coerce a plea regarding a crime where the defendant is eligible for probation..)
  4. A criminal action charged pursuant to this section may be tried either in the county where the offense is committed or in the county in which the court that issued the bond is located, if such court is within this state.

This Law only applies to knowing violations of bail bond conditions, and the defendant was adequately apprised by the information of the manner in which he had violated those conditions.

Permits evidence that the defendant intended to and attempted to flee the jurisdiction to support an inference that the defendant knowingly failed to appear in violation of this section.

There is no requirement that defendant be advised that violation of a bond condition is a crime.

But the law requires that criminal liability only if the defendant know what he is doing when he is doing the conduct.

Be aware of this provision!!! H.

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