The pretrial release program allows defendants awaiting trial to remain in the community. A judge determines if the offender will be released on his own recognizance, which means he does not have to pay any fees. Other situations warrant release with fees, enhanced supervision or continued custody. The violation of pretrial release can result in serious consequences.
The court considers various factors when determining both the appropriateness of pretrial release and the penalties for violations. These include the nature of the present offense, the defendant's criminal history, statements made by victims, the defendant's work history and the defendant's need for mental health or substance abuse treatment.
Violation of pretrial release can result in an arrest warrant or revocation of pretrial release. A member of the court, pretrial services or a prosecutor can initiate the revocation. The judge, often the same one who initially granted pretrial release, will determine an appropriate sanction. This can include home arrest, electronic monitoring, additional fees, substance abuse treatment or other sanctions the court deems necessary.
Committing a new crime while under pretrial release results in the most serious of all penalties. Not only will the defendant face enhanced penalties for the present offense, but he will face new charges for the new offense. Federal legislation mandates that the courts can impose a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, to be served consecutive, or after, any other sentence for the commission of a federal crime. The defendant may be found in contempt of court for committing a local or state offense and must face the subsequent penalty.