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I've been charged with a Federal offense, how do I get out of jail?


I’ve been charged with a Federal offense, how do I get out of jail?!

Being charged with a federal offense is procedurally different than a state offense. For example, when charged with a state crime, you get arrested, booked in jail, then you go in front of judge to get arraigned and given a bond. You pay the bond and you’re out, no problem. Federal crimes on the other hand are quite different. Let’s discuss the procedural differences.

First, what happens after you get arrested?

You will have what is called a first appearance before a magistrate judge. Before this occurs, a pretrial services officer will interview you to get some background information (job, family, housing). The officer will then write up a report recommending detention or release after speaking with the AUSA (government attorney) and the agent investigating your case. Additionally, before you go in front of the judge the attorney you hired or the court appointed attorney will go over the indictment or information with you.

After the charges have been read to you, the judge will go forward with the detention hearing (bond). Unless, your attorney or the government has asked for a continuance this occurs immediately after your first appearance. IF the government asks for a continuance, they can only delay it for 3 days and if you ask for a continuance it may not exceed 5 days.

What happens during a detention hearing?

The judge will take various factors into consideration when determining whether to release you or not. The factors to be considered are[1]:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
  • The weight of the evidence against the person;
  • The history and characteristics of the person, including physical and mental conditions, family ties, employment, financial resources, community ties, criminal history, whether the person is on probation/parole; and
  • The nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by your release.

Final step, release?

At the completion of the detention hearing, the magistrate judge will issue an order that pending trial, the person be[2]-

  1. Released on personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond;
  2. Released on a condition or combination of conditions;
  3. Temporary detained to permit revocation of conditional release, deportation, or exclusion; or
  4. Detained

If released on conditions, what may those be?

Once released you will be subject to the following conditions[3]:

  1. Defendant must not violate federal, state, or local laws
  2. Defendant must cooperate in the collection of a DNA sample
  3. Defendant must advise the court or the pretrial services office in writing before making any change of residence or telephone number
  4. Defendant must appear in court as required and, if convicted, must surrender as directed to serve sentence
  5. Defendant must sign an appearance bond, if ordered.

Additionally, you may also be ordered to:

  • Report to supervision to the pretrial services office
  • Continue or actively seek employment
  • Continue or start an education program
  • Surrender any passport
  • Travel restricted to the state of Texas
  • Avoid contact with any victim or witness
  • Get medical or psychiatric treatment
  • Maintain residence at a halfway house or community corrections center
  • Not possess a firearm or other weapon
  • Not use alcohol excessively
  • Not use or unlawfully possess a narcotic drug or other controlled substance
  • Submit to testing for prohibited substances
  • Participate in a program of inpatient or outpatient substance abuse therapy
  • Home detention, incarceration, or curfew

If you violate a condition, will you go back to jail?

Absolutely! If that happens, you will be detained until your case is resolved. So, it’s always a good idea to oblige by all the conditions.

If you are faced with a federal charge, please contact our office immediately! We can help defend you against various crimes and will fight vigorously to protect your legal rights. You can call us 24/7 by calling (214) 238-9392 or visit our law office at 900 Jackson Street, Suite 635 Dallas, Texas 75202. Don’t wait before it is too late!

1.) 18 U.S. Code § 3142(g)

2.) 18 U.S. Code § 3142(a)

3.) 18 U.S. Code § 3142(c)

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