Pretrial Release in Federal Criminal Cases

If you or someone you know is facing, or may face, federal criminal charges, the first question is often: how to obtain pretrial release?

If you know the federal criminal charges are coming in advance, your criminal attorney may be able to arrange for you to turn yourself in at a specific time and be released promptly.  However, in the case of a sudden arrest, securing pretrial release is a lengthier process.

Those arrested by federal law enforcement are entitled to a prompt “detention” hearing before a federal magistrate judge.  At the hearing, the magistrate judge will decide whether to release the defendant pretrial and, if so, under what conditions.

The judge’s decision making process is guided by a federal law called the Bail Reform Act.  The act directs the judge to consider facts relevant to pretrial release such as the defendant’s criminal history and the facts of the case insofar as they are known at that time.  If the magistrate judge decides not to release the defendant, that judge’s decision can be appealed to a district judge, or even to the Court of Appeals.

If you or someone you know becomes involved in a federal criminal case, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you prepare the most powerful case possible in favor of pretrial release.

If you have other questions about the pretrial release process in federal courts, please visit our website or contact us.