At the time of arrest, a person facing false sex assault charges has many things running through his or her head. The future immediately becomes uncertain if they will be able to keep their job, take care of their family, and primarily, how they will get out of jail.
In any criminal case, the accused has a right to a reasonable bond. But in the state of Nebraska, the accused is not guaranteed bond in murder and sex assault cases. Generally speaking, judges in Lincoln and Lancaster county will set bond in a sex assault case. However, in Omaha and Douglas county, some judges are hesitant to set a bond in a child sex assault case. If a bond is not set, then the accused cannot post bond or bail while the case is pending.
Factors considered by a judge when setting bond in a sex assault case in Nebraska:
1. Is the accused a risk to harm himself or others?
In a sex assault case, the judge will look at the accused’s criminal history to determine if a person has a violent history or is at risk to harm another or themselves while out on bond. If bond is set for a sex assault case, the judge will often set a no-contact order with the accuser. Pretrial conditions such as electronic monitoring, or enforcing that the accused will not have contact with children or other potential victims may also be set by the judge.
2. Is the accused a flight risk?
A court will look at whether the accused has significant ties to the community to determine whether the accused is a flight risk. Factors affecting the amount of bond the judge will set, and if the accused is a flight risk, includes if the accused owns property in the state of Nebraska, has maintained full time employment, has a family, or any other ownership interests or relationships in the community.
A common belief is that someone who has no ties to the state or community will likely flee.
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3. Additional factors
Additional factors that will be considered by a court when setting bond includes if the accused a US citizen, faces deportation risk, or has pending criminal matters in other jurisdictions. These factors create circumstances beyond the courts control if the accused is either detained or arrested by another agency or jurisdiction. For example, if the accused is not a US citizen, depending on immigration status, the Department of Homeland Security may become involved and detain them if caught fleeing in another state.
Arrest warrants out for the accused in another jurisdiction can impact the court when setting bond. The other jurisdiction with the warrant will usually get a detainer, basically putting a hold on the accused’s bond, factoring in on the bond being set.
Cost of Bond
The cost of bond will ultimately depend on the severity of the crime and the factors above. For example, a case of 3rd degree sexual assault involving sexual touching may have a bond set as low as a personal recognizance bond, or a bond where the individual has to post only a few hundred dollars. For the more serious sex assault cases, such as sex assault of a child, it would not be unheard of for the court to set bond at $500,000, requiring the accused to post a $50,000 bond to get out of jail.
Importance of Posting Bond
Posting bond to get the accused out of jail while the case is pending can be invaluable in preparing for the defense with a defense attorney. If the accused does not get out jail, the defense attorney must work with the accused in a cell at the jail, requiring triable time for the attorney. If the accused is out, they can often assist with the defense attorney’s investigation, such as going to the site of alleged sex assault, to better tell their side of the story visually.
There are a few things more frightening than being arrested for a sex crime. Those who are arrested are usually concerned with getting out jail so they can work, support their family, and fight the charges.