Federal Detention Hearings – Release from Federal Custody
Raleigh Attorney for Federal Detention Hearings
In Federal court, a defendant cannot pay a bond to be released from custody. Instead, the court will either release him without paying any money or refuse to release him under any circumstances. Within 48 hours of being served with a federal arrest warrant, a defendant will be taken before a federal magistrate judge for a first appearance. At this hearing, the judge will usually appoint an attorney to represent the defendant at the detention hearing. The defendant should begin hiring his criminal defense attorney immediately.
Before the detention hearing, someone from the U.S. Probation Office will meet with the defendant to gather information. At this meeting, the officer will ask the defendant about drug and alcohol use. If the defendant admits to drug or excessive alcohol use, the court will be much less willing to release the defendant. The defendant should not lie to the officer, but instead, say that he does not wish to discuss drug or alcohol use.
In almost all cases, the detention hearing is the only opportunity for a defendant to be released before trial. It is usually scheduled within four days of the first appearance. At the detention hearing, the judge will want to speak to the person who will be responsible for monitoring the defendant if released. This person is referred to as the defendant’s “custodian” and is often a family member or close friend. The defendant’s attorney should help identify possible “custodians.” The ideal “custodian” has no criminal history, has no children living in the home, and remains at home most of the time.
The defendant’s attorney then identifies the potential “custodians” to the U.S. Probation Office so the Office can evaluate the “custodian’s” qualifications. If additional time is needed to identify potential “custodians,” the defendant is entitled to postpone this detention hearing.
Just before the detention hearing, some defendants will have a probable cause hearing. A probable cause hearing is where the magistrate judge hears testimony from a government witness summarizing the evidence the government believes justifies a trial. The defendant should not waive his probable cause hearing. The defendant’s attorney should question the government’s witness about the details of the case to begin preparing for trial. It is a good opportunity to learn what evidence the government believes it has.
A defendant is entitled to a probable cause hearing if he is charged with a criminal information. A criminal information is a statement of charges prepared by a prosecutor and supported by an officer’s sworn statement of facts.
If a defendant is charged by an indictment, then he does not get a probable cause hearing. An indictment is a statement of charges approved by a grand jury of about 20 people who listened to the government’s evidence and agreed that enough evidence existed to justify a trial.
Again, do not waive a probable cause or detention hearing. Federal prison sentences are usually long and you need an experienced Board Certified Specialist in Federal Criminal Law as your attorney.
Please contact Andrew McCoppin for a free consultation by calling 919-481-0011 or filling out this convenient online contact form. Don’t take chances with your future – obtain the services of McCoppin & Associates, Attorneys at Law, P.A., today.