If you or someone you know has been arrested, the first thought to cross your mind is probably, “how long will be held under arrest?” When you’ve been arrested for a Virginia criminal charge, the mechanism for exiting the jail is found through a bail, or bond, process. The process for obtaining a bond are found in Virginia Code Section 19.2-120. The first opportunity to receive a bond is through the magistrate. Typically the arresting officer will present you to the magistrate to determine whether you should be granted bond. The first thing that the magistrate will consider is whether there is a presumption against bond. The Code lays out several requirements for a presumption against bond to exist. Certain criminal offenses carry a presumption just by the nature of the charge, even if there is no criminal history. Some presumptions are created based on your past criminal history. If a presumption against bond exists, the defendant must be able to overcome the presumption against bond. If no presumption exists, the court shall set a reasonable bond unless there is probable cause that the defendant will 1) not appear or 2) is a unreasonable danger to himself or the community. Typically, magistrates, as well as courts, rely on the criminal history of the defendant to address these issues; but sometimes the charges themselves meet the burden, particularly of factor 2. If the magistrate denies bond or sets bond unreasonably high, the defendant can motion for a bond hearing before the court. This will typically be done through the drafting of a notice and motion for bond. The court will use the same law, but applies the law independently of the magistrate’s determination. If the bond hearing is originally heard in the general district court and is denied bond, then the defendant has a right to appeal to the circuit court. If the circuit court denies bond, then the defendant has the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, look to the law firm of Randall Page, P.C. to protect your rights. That’s our mission. We have the experience and passion to fight to protect the rights of the people of Western Tidewater.