If you have been charged with a drug crime, a weapons offense, or any other federal crime, you may be wondering if you can post bail so you can remain out of jail until a decision is made at trial. Most people think that as long as they have the money, it is fairly easy to get bail. This is mainly due to the fact that when most people think of jail, they think of state facilities. The federal justice system is much different, and that includes how decisions are made about bail, bond, and pretrial release.

Initial Hearing

Shortly after being charged, you will meet with a Pretrial Services Officer. During an interview, the officer will ask you about your entire background. Afterward, the officer will make a recommendation to the court about whether you need an attorney appointed, and whether you should be detained or released while the case is pending. The judge will review the recommendations of the officer and hear arguments from you and the prosecution pertaining to your pre-trial release.


Generally speaking, bail is a term used to describe money paid court so you can be released from jail prior to your trial. In state courts, bail is quite common, but it is quite rare in federal court. In federal court, the issue of pretrial release does not revolve around one person’s ability to pay, but rather a number of conditions the court may impose to ensure you return to court.


The conditions the court imposes to ensure you return to court are known as bond. Bond can incorporate a number of conditions you must meet until the end of your trial. A judge will determine the bond conditions based on five premises. These are that you will:

  • Not commit a crime
  • Cooperate with the probation officer
  • Not associate with known or suspected criminals
  • Remain employed and gain a lawful income
  • Submit and pass random drug tests

If the judge allows bond, they will inform you of what the conditions are, as well as the penalties for non-compliance. These can include the revocation of your release, as well as additional charges for violating a judge’s federal order.

Although pretrial release is possible in federal courts, it is never a guarantee. There are challenges, particularly if you have a criminal history, or if the judge is particularly concerned about your case. It is, for this reason, it is important to speak to a federal criminal defense lawyer that can give you the best chance of success.

Call Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Being charged with a federal offense is very scary, but you do have rights. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense attorney can ensure they are upheld. One of the biggest rights you have is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. We will emphasize this right and aggressively argue in your favor to give you the best chance of pretrial release, which will help when building your defense. If you have been charged with a federal crime, call us today at 312-270-0999 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.



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