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Pre-Trial Detention vs. Release on Bond

Once accused of a crime, be it federal or state, individuals are subject to detention pending trial.  Although holding facilities such as county jails and contract institutions may provide for basic needs including housing, food, and medical attention, no one would argue that freedom is preferable, even under the conditions imposed by courts to ensure future appearances and the safety of the community into which one is released.

While allegations of certain crimes come with statutory restrictions on the posting of any bond whatsoever, bail amounts must be set by the courts for all other offenses, as required by the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Why, then, are so many people locked up pending trial?  And what is the innocent accused to do when suddenly yanked from freedom and unable to post the required bail?  Unfortunately, most are forced to endure the separation from society they once took for granted.  Along with that separation comes the increased anxiety that always accompanies uncertainty.  From the initial shock of serious allegations to protracted incarceration pending trial, the innocent accused must now face increased daily pressures that may once have been manageable through a simple personal visit or phone call.

Imagine the range of indignities imposed by incarceration, multiplied by the actual horror of separation from loved ones, and then compounded by a legal system that is largely bureaucratic and impersonal.  Now imagine that nightmare scenario without the advice and input of competent counsel and meaningful access to the courts.  This is the basis for understanding the sense of hopelessness that surrounds many people facing the monolithic might and power of government.

Whether the charge is state or federal, murder, assault, robbery, or fraud, the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to effective assistance of counsel at all critical stages of the legal process.  From assisting in the reduction of bail requirements to effective representation at trial, KesslerWilliams has successfully guided countless individuals through the legal system, as have many other attorneys practicing solely in the area of criminal defense.

Finally, based on experience acquired in the office of the Missouri State Public Defender, it is worth noting that, like the private defense bar, there is a high level of commitment and competence among public defenders, and oftentimes more expertise in the area of criminal law than the general practitioner of law who only infrequently defends against criminal charges.  So if you or someone you know is incarcerated, contact an attorney to see what options are available for gaining pre-trial freedom during the pendency of the criminal action.

The contents of this article are the property of KesslerWilliams, LLC.  Permission to reprint this article will be granted upon request.

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