By Timothy E. Zerillo
Visit us at www.getzerillo.com
If you have been recently arrested in Maine and are reading this article, then you have made bail. Congratulations on getting out of jail, but you are not completely free yet. You are subject to bail conditions to ensure your appearance in court, protection of society and the integrity of the legal process.
If you are released on personal recognizance bail, it means that you are promising to appear. If you have posted cash or surety bail (real estate), posting that cash or surety is your promise to appear. If you do not appear, you risk forfeiture of the bail or surety among other penalties.
You are also bound by conditions, which vary by bail bond. Conditions of release must be understood by the bailee to avoid bail violation problems.
Please note that this article is merely informative. If there is any conflict between this article and your bail conditions, the bail conditions control. Please make sure you review your bail conditions and are familiar with them.
Here are 10 common bail conditions that might appear in your bail bond and what they mean:
1. Appearance at Court
You must appear for your initial appearance on the date contained in the bail bond. If your case is a misdemeanor, and you hire Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple, P.A., we can appear on your behalf at your initial appearance. If it is a felony, we will appear with you.
2. No New Criminal Conduct
You must not commit any new criminal conduct or violate any pending protection from abuse orders.
3. Informing Court of Change in Contact Information
You must immediately advise the Court of any change in your address or telephone number.
4. Waiver of Extradition
You have waived extradition to the State of Maine for prosecution of the charge(s) against you.
5. No Use of Alcohol or Drugs
You may be prohibited entirely from using alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs. You may also be prohibited from excessively using alcohol in some cases.
6. No Possession of Alcohol or Drugs
You may also be prohibited from possessing alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs. The term possess in this context is construed liberally. You should not have ANY alcoholic beverages in your residence, even if they belong to a roommate or spouse.
7. No Possession of Weapons
You may also be prohibited from possessing any dangerous weapons, including, but not limited to firearms. The term possess in this context is also construed liberally. You should not have ANY dangerous weapons in your residence.
Additionally, no possession of firearms or weapons requirements could be extended to ammunition (even if the firearms are removed). Your best bet to avoid problems is to remove all ammunition as well as firearms and dangerous weapons from your residence.
8. Submit to Searches
You may also have a condition of submitting to search for drugs or alcohol or to submit to chemical tests without probable cause. If so, the police are able to search you, your vehicle, and your residence and require you to submit to a chemical test, in order to determine whether you have violated any of your bail conditions. They may do so AT ANY TIME, without articulate suspicion or probable cause. There may be a condition of bail that they can only perform these searches upon articulate suspicion. If so, they can only search or test if they suspect you have violated any of these conditions.
9. Prohibited Contact
You may be prohibited from having any contact, direct or indirect, with a named witness or alleged victim in your case.
No contact means no direct or indirect contact. This provision will also be liberally construed against you. The Maine Supreme Court found contact for the violation of a Protection from Abuse Order for a Defendant observing an alleged victim without having physical or verbal contact. SeeState v. Mark Elliott (Me. 2010). Please be very careful with no contact provisions of your bail.
10. Restriction on Driving
You may be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle under any circumstances, or unless lawfully licensed to do so. This condition is only usually associated with driving crimes.
Your bail conditions might be different then the ones described above. Bail conditions can be difficult and onerous, and can send you down a slippery slope toward bail violations. Don't forget that if you violate your bail that you can be charged with a new crime of violating conditions of release and be held without bail.
Your bail conditions can be modified as well. Please contact Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple, P.A. and we will be happy to help you deal with your charges and modify your bail, if appropriate.