LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Bill Powers | Dec 5, 2011

BAIL BONDS NC - Guilford County - Suggested Bond Amounts & Procedure - Part IV

D.Drug Trafficking

If a judicial official finds the following:

(1)there is reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed a drug trafficking offense; and

(2)the drug trafficking offense was committed while the person was on pretrial release for another offense; and

(3)the person has been previously convicted of a Class A through E felony, or any drug trafficking offense, and not more than 5 years has passed since the conviction (or release from prison for the offense, whichever is later);

then the person can ONLY be released by a district or superior court judge upon a finding that there is a reasonable assurance that the person will appear and release does not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to the community [G.S. 15A-533(d)].

4E.Gang Activity

When determining the form of pretrial release, verified gang activity is an appropriate factor to consider. However, in making this determination, judicial officials may only consider specific and verified incidents of gang activity. Conclusory statements that the defendant is a known gang member or associates with known gang members are not sufficient for including this factor in a determination of pretrial release.

IV. Other Items

A.The use of “dollar" bonds

The use of “dollar" bonds serves a valuable purpose of ensuring that defendants incarcerated in the jail are not called and failed while in custody. However, the processing and collection of bond forfeitures in the amount of one dollar is not cost effective. Therefore, when setting a bond, the amount should be set at a minimum of ten ($10) dollars.

B.Cash Bonds

Any “cash" bond set by a judge continues to mean either cash money deposited and receipted by the magistrate or a “cash" bond posted by an authorized bail agent acting on behalf of an solvent surety (excepting child support contempt proceedings), unless the Magistrate is presented with a valid Court Order that:

(1)contains Findings of Fact by the Judge;

(2)has one or more Conclusions of Law, one of which must indicate that accepting any other security other than actual currency will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant; and

(3)orders that a cash bond be set and the amount thereof be secured by US currency in that face amount.

The Magistrate is then required to enforce that Order by accepting only cash money on behalf of that defendant.

The above requirement for “cash" bonds does not apply to child support contempt proceedings. In this type of proceeding, cash always means cash and a bail agent may not secure a defendant’s release with a bail bond.

C.Magistrates Magistrates may not determine whether or upon what conditions a defendant charged

with a capital offense may be released before trial pursuant to G.S. 15A-533.

Magistrates may not determine whether or upon what conditions a defendant charged with domestic violence as defined by G.S. 15A-534.1(a) may be released before trial, unless a judge has not done so within 48 hours of the defendant’s arrest (G.S. 15A-

5

534.1). In this instance, a magistrate must make a determination as to imposition of pretrial release conditions.

If a magistrate is imposing conditions of release (1)-(3) [WPA, Custody Release, and Unsecured Bond] then no written findings need to be made pursuant to G.S. 15A-511. However, when magistrates impose a secured bond, they must record the reasons for doing so in writing on the attached “Written Determination of a Judicial Official on the Imposition of a Secured Bond" form (18JD-CR-M1). This form shall be securely attached to and accompany the original release order form setting forth conditions of pretrial release which is forwarded to the District Court. This form should not be modified in any form or fashion.

Magistrates should use the existing forms for Implied Consent Offenses (currently AOC-CR-271) and Detention of Impaired Drivers (currently AOC-CR-270). Magistrates should also use the attached “Findings Supporting the Detention of an Impaired Driver G.S. 15-A-534.2" form (18JD-CR-M2). However, if a secured bond is set in these cases, magistrates should also use the “Written Determination of a Judicial Official on the Imposition of a Secured Bond" form (18JD-CR-M1).

When making a determination as to the appropriate form of pretrial release, magistrates should always review a defendant’s history of convictions. When setting a secured bond, the conviction history results should be securely attached to the “Written Determination of a Judicial Official on the Imposition of a Secured Bond" form (18JD-CR-M1).

Magistrates should encourage all Law Enforcement Officers to fill out the “Law Enforcement Officer Information" form (18JD-CR-M3). While not all information on this form is applicable to the setting of pretrial release conditions, it does provide information that may be helpful to the Court, Jail, Pretrial Services, or Drug and Mental Health Courts. This form should also be securely attached to and accompany the original release order form setting forth conditions of pretrial release which is forwarded to the District Court.

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