Bond in Mecklenburg Gun Cases
When it comes to bond in Mecklenburg gun cases, the judges are not the ones setting the amount, it is the magistrates. If you get arrested on the side of the road, most likely judge is not available. That person is taken to a magistrate who is a quasi-judicial official and that is who initially sets the bond. From there, the district court judge or the circuit court judge, depending on the way it is charged, can hear an appeal of the magistrate that there is no bond.
It is very important to work with a skilled Mecklenburg gun attorney who can fight to keep a charge from becoming a conviction on your criminal record. Contact an experienced firearms attorney as soon as possible.
Common Magistrate Decisions
There are two primary concerns when granting someone a bond: are they a danger to the public and are they likely to show up to court. The final decision is going to be based on if it is a gun charge, and if it is one that is really indicative of some sort of danger to the community; were they recklessly firing the gun, were other people around, is this person charged with a gun because they were a drug dealer and, on the other end, do they have a history of a failing to appear for court regularly? It is going to be different with every individual based on the facts of their specific case and their criminal record.
There are a number of factors that magistrates take into consideration when judging bond in Mecklenburg gun cases. These include previous criminal record, history of appearing for court, what specific kind of charge was it, is there a presumption against bail, is there a mandatory minimum charge that would lead someone to be more fearful of showing up to court, and was the behavior that they were exhibiting inherently dangerous. These are all relevant when it comes to deciding bond in Mecklenburg gun cases.
Danger To the Public
The consideration of whether someone is a danger to the public is specific to what the behavior was. However, there are some generally accepted thoughts on the subject. For instance, a person is going to be considered a danger to the public if they were doing any of the following:
- Recklessly firing a firearm
- Firing open in the air
- Brandishing a firearm
- Escalating a domestic situation or an assault and battery situation
- Bringing a gun to a knife fight
Those are all behaviors that would qualify a defendant as potentially a danger to the public. Likewise, if the accused has a firearm and they are under a protective order because they have been stalking or threatening someone. If the person is a violent felon, that is going to be considered inherently more dangerous if they are possessing a firearm compared to someone who has never been convicted of anything violent.
The way a person’s experienced gun attorney can work to convince the judge that a person is not dangerous is by highlighting the opposite of everything: that their behavior was not inherently dangerous, they do not have a violent record, they do not have a violent felony record, they were not dealing drugs, they did not escalate an assault situation and the person who used the weapons was not part of an assault. They want to highlight all the good things about someone and their behavior.
A flight risk is essentially the implication that someone is not going to present themselves at trial if they are given a bond, and it is a bit of a presumption in cases – not a legal presumption but a bit of a presumption in gun cases – because there can be so much time at risk and it can be potentially mandatory minimum time. If a person is found to be a violent felon in possession of a firearm, that is five years automatically.
There is an argument that once someone is made aware that they are found to be a violent felon in possession of a firearm, they know that there is nothing they can do to avoid five years so they are more of a flight risk than someone who is not looking at mandatory time. People not facing mandatory time may think that they can convince the court or convince the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to give them a lower sentence. Regarding bond in Mecklenburg gun cases, this is more likely with the help of a skilled attorney.
Benefit of an Attorney When Facing the Magistrate
An attorney can help with the appearance of flight risk by presenting evidence to counter that concern. The most effective evidence is going to be testimony relating to the ties of the defendant to the community, their history of appearing in court, their history of seeing trials through, their children and family members that they support in the community, as well as the fact that they do not have other ties to other states or other countries.
An attorney can also work with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and court to ensure that their client appears when necessary, suggesting things like electronic monitoring, house arrest, putting up very, very high-secured bonds, altering bonds from unsecured to secured to ensure appearances. These are just a few of the ways in which an experienced lawyer can help.