In the federal system, most people charged with non-violent offenses are released on conditions after their first appearance before a magistrate judge. Conditions of release are meant to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant in court as required, as well as the safety of any other person or the community pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3142(c). Conditions may be as simple as release on an unsecured appearance bond (meaning no property or money is posted); travel restricted to the continental United States; surrender of one’s passport; surrender of any firearms; and telephonic or in-person reporting to Pretrial Services. In certain serious cases, conditions of release could be very stringent, requiring home detention with electronic monitoring where the person is only allowed out of the home for pre-approved visits with their attorney or medical appointments; surrender of family members’ passports; the posting of real properties with substantial equity; and release of the defendant to third party custodians who are required to report any violations of the release conditions to the court.
When an individual is charged with a federal crime, whether by Complaint or Indictment, they are entitled to a Bail Hearing under Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3141 et seq. Under the relevant statute, a person may be released on a personal recognizance bond or unsecured appearance bond; on a condition or combination of conditions; or detained. The standard for the court is whether the person will appear for all proceedings and not be a danger to the community.