Modifying Bonds in North Carolina

I’ll paraphrase a question I recently was asked:

My son has a $500,000 bond trying to get it reduced. He as a court appointed lawyer. I need to know the steps to getting a bond reduction and how long does it take.

These are not steps you should take. They are steps his lawyer should take. Basically the lawyer is going to want to interview you and your son about various facts about his and your life that the judge can take into consideration when deciding to modify the bond. These questions are about his prior criminal history (if he has any), what ties to the community your son has, your son’s otherwise good behavior (school attendance, any clubs he belongs to, church, etc.), and the seriousness or not of the allegations.

In North Carolina, the prosecutor decides when the defendant goes before a judge. This is almost entirely unique in the United States. First Appearance – which it sounds like the above person went through since he now has a court appointed attorney – is the first shot at a bond hearing.

The second shot is usually his probable cause hearing, which is 3 or 4 weeks following the First Appearance. During that period, he will remain in custody if he can’t bond out on the original bond.

Your son’s attorney can ask the prosecutor to grant an earlier hearing, but this almost never happens.

After the probable cause hearing, he’d next have a chance for a hearing at Superior Court arraignment.

Depending on the issues, it can take several bond hearings to get the bond down to a level that you can afford to pay.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.