The most basic condition, of course, and the reason for which bail is issued in the first place, and upon which bail is conditioned, is the defendant’s presence and attendance during the course of his court hearings. Should the defendant not appear during his trial, then this basic condition of bail is broken, and the court can issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. Many times, there are two warrants issued – one for the original charge upon which the defendant is facing criminal charges in the first place, and a second warrant of arrest for violating the conditions of his release and jumping out on his bail.
It sometimes happens, however, that the bail commissioner or the judge who grants bail also gives additional conditions to which the defendant is expected to adhere to. These are by no means exclusive, and given only as general definitions of what might possibly be attached as conditions to a bail order. In case there is any conflict, the actual terms of one’s bail should always prevail.
- To inform the court of any change of contact information
As a basic tenet, a defendant who is out on bail is expected to remain within the court’s jurisdiction, which means that in no instance can he or she leave the state. If he or she should change address, however, or change telephone numbers and other contact information, then the defendant is expected to inform the court immediately. The expectation is that the defendant will not make himself difficult to reach.
- No use of alcohol or drugs
The bail commissioner or the judge might stipulate that you should not use alcohol or drugs while you are out on bail. This is often the case if the original charges involved your use of these substances, thus precipitating the alleged crime in the first place. This is also to be expected as a condition to one’s bail if one has had a history of excessive alcohol consumption or drug abuse.
- No possession of alcohol or drugs
Laws on drugs are prohibitive enough of these illegal substances that possession alone is punishable by law. This is to prevent any possible use of either alcohol or drugs or both, and to prevent other forms of criminal conduct such as selling illicit substances. A person with a history in these kinds of transactions can reasonably expect to find such a condition attached to his bail order.
- No possession of weapons
The accused in a criminal case is prohibited from possessing weapons, such as guns and knives. If the condition of the bail order sets this prohibition out in general terms and without exceptions, this means that the defendant also cannot possess even any licensed firearms he may have previously owned. It is recommended that you not only avoid having such weapons on your person, but also to remove them from your home or residence.
- No contact
If the criminal charges against a defendant include a victim of the crime, then if the defendant is out on bail, he or she is restricted or prohibited from contacting or otherwise interacting with the victim. This is not only intended to promote public safety, but also to safeguard the judicial process by not having complainants being contacted with, harassed, or threatened in relation to the criminal case.