You will face two immediate hearings before a judge if you have been charged with a federal crime. The first will be your arraignment, which involves the government reading official charges against you.
Then, if the U.S. Attorney wants you detained instead of released, a federal detention hearing will be scheduled to occur within three to five days. Reduce your anxiety about the federal detention hearing by knowing what to expect.
What to Expect at a Federal Detention Hearing
When you are initially arrested for a federal crime, you will be taken to jail. You must remain in jail until the U.S. Attorney agrees to your release or you challenge your incarceration at a federal detention hearing.
When Is the Federal Detention Hearing?
You are entitled to a federal detention hearing within three business days of your arraignment. That means if your arraignment occurs on a Monday or Tuesday, you could be out within the same week. However, if your arraignment is towards the end of a week, you may have to sit in jail over the weekend.
The Government Will Argue to Keep You in Jail
At the federal detention hearing, the government will argue that you should remain in custody until your case is resolved. They must present evidence that there is probable cause to believe you committed a federal crime. They must also show that if you were released, you would be a danger to the community or you are a flight risk.
Your Attorney Can Fight to Get You Released
Your federal defense lawyer has an opportunity to dispute those claims. Your best arguments at this juncture are that you are not dangerous and have no reason to leave the court’s jurisdiction.
The judge decides whether you can be released or held in custody until your trial.
Influencing Factors on the Outcome of Your Hearing
A federal judge considers many factors when deciding whether to keep you in jail or release you, including:
- Your criminal history
- The nature of your charges (e.g., if you are accused of being violent)
- The weight of the evidence against you
- The U.S. Attorney’s recommendation to detain or release you
- Your character, health, and history
- Ties to local family and the community
- Your financial resources
- Prior failure to appear in court
- Whether you are a threat to the community
- Your immigration status
These factors also determine the terms of your release if you can leave while your case is pending.
What Happens after a Federal Detention Hearing?
Upon completion of the federal defense hearing, you may be held pending trial or released on recognizance (ROR) with conditions of release.
You May Be Held in Jail Until Your Trial
You will not be released if the judge determines there are no conditions of release that will assure you will return to court proceedings or you pose a danger to society. You may be held without bail until your case is resolved.
You May Be Released
However, if the federal judge decides you are eligible for release, they may release you on personal recognizance. That means with the execution of an unsecured appearance bond. They may also release you to a third-party custodian, often a friend or family member responsible for you returning to court.
Conditions of your release might include:
- You must report to a probation officer periodically and upon request
- You must report any additional criminal activity (including traffic violations)
- You must surrender your passport
- You cannot leave the county, state, or court’s jurisdiction
- You must attend school or work full time
- You must consent to drug and alcohol testing
- You must wear a tracking monitor
A Federal Defense Attorney Helps During Your Detention Hearing
If you have an approaching federal detention hearing, you must hire a lawyer who understands how to get you out of jail. The federal defense attorneys at Harrison, Hart & Davis, LLC have extensive experience representing clients at all stages of cases. We will attend your detention hearing with you and fight to get you released.