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In a situation in which you find yourself charged with a crime and held without bail, what will it take to convince the court that it is  appropriate  for a defendant to receive pretrial release?

As an example, take the case of James Alex Fields, who was denied bail as he was arraigned for second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run. 


Heather Heyer, 32, died and 19 were injured when a car hit demonstrators in Charlottesville last Saturday. Mr. Fields is alleged to have committed these acts and is said to have harbored Nazi sympathies. He is from Ohio and has a reported history of prior violence against his own mother. 


WHEN A MAGISTRATE DENIES A DEFENDANT BOND, a defendant has two more opportunities to secure a bond, first from the general district court and if that fails, then the circuit court in that jurisdiction. 


Factors in play in the above example are as follows:


1. Seriousness of the charge: Murder is one of the most serious charges that the State can bring against a person. There are presumptions against bond in cases like murder per statute. 


2. Is the person a flight risk and do they have a strong connection to the State in which they are charged?: In the case of Mr. Fields, he does not have a strong connection to either Charlottesville or the Commonwealth of Virginia because he came from Ohio to engage in this alleged behavior. In addition Mr. Fields would concern the court that he would not return for trial given that he lives many hours from Virginia.


3. Danger to the Community?: Does Mr. Fields pose a danger to others if released from custody before a trial? Many judges would agree that this person poses a danger to the community based on the alleged acts and the purported connection to white supremacist group or groups. 


4. Counterbalancing facts: Strength of the case is a large factor when a judge makes a bail determination. So the question would be, HOW STRONG IS THE EVIDENCE? If the case is weak, and it can be demonstrated to the court then any person has a chance at receiving bail. In the case of Mr. Fields, there appears to be video evidence to support the allegations, and this does not bode well for Mr. Fields. 


IF YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY TO SECURE A PRETRIAL RELEASE, THEN CALL THE DORSK LAW OFFICE AT 757-423-0271. Mr. Dorsk is an expert at bond/bail hearings and routinely secures his clients pretrial release. 

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