Factors that will determine the outcome of a federal detention hearing
For the most part, defendants who must take part in a federal detention hearing have been charged with a felony crime. Most times, federal prosecutors will make the case for the defendant to remain in custody by presenting testimony and evidence to persuade the magistrate. In response, the magistrate will make a determination that will also consider the defendant’s ties to the community, their moral character, their employment status, financial resources and their potential risk to the community.
Based on all of these factors, the magistrate may recommend that a bail amount be set or that other conditions of release be instated. This may include being subject to house arrest, wearing an electronic monitoring device, or simply checking in with a federal probation officer.
Defenses at federal detention hearings
A defendant facing a federal detention hearing needs a highly experienced attorney to represent their interests, especially since criminal cases tried at the federal level are much more sophisticated than at the state level.
Because this is the first step in the legal process, and a defendant’s freedom is at stake, the outcome of a federal detention hearing is extremely important. Although technically you are still presumed innocent, if you are held in jail as a result of the outcome of your hearing, it will significantly impact your attorney’s ability to mount the best possible defense on your behalf.
It is also important to note that if the government is seeking no conditions of release would be reasonable, their burden of proof only needs to be by “clear and convincing evidence” which is a lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is the standard employed at a trial.
If you are not happy with the magistrate’s decision, your attorney can appeal a detention hearing, at which time a District Court will review the matter and make an independent decision. However, your best chance for freedom is to secure your release at the initial hearing, and for that you must retain the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
The Law Office of Ginger Kelley serves clients in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and communities throughout Orange County, California.