Sentencing Hearing – What Happens at a Sentencing Hearing? Let’s talk about what a Release Hearing is. First of all, a Release Hearing is a particular type of hearing that applies to a criminal case. When someone is arrested in a criminal case, they’re immediately brought before a judge within 24-hours. Arizona Law says if you are arrested you have to be brought before the judge within 24-hours. At that hearing which is generally called the Initial Appearance, the judge will set release conditions.
Now, Arizona Law says, there is a preference for an OR Release, that’s a release on your own recognizance, which in essence, is your promise to come back to court. So, that’s what Arizona Law says. Now, if the judge finds that this is not sufficient to ensure your return to court, then what Arizona Law says is, the judge can impose additional conditions. However, these are supposed to be the least onerous conditions that would reasonably assure the court of your appearance back in court.
So, if this is set and it’s a high bond, which in essence is a bond that you can’t post to get released, then your lawyer generally has a right to file a Motion to Modify your release conditions. Which means that the lawyer is requesting that the judge enter an order, reducing the conditions for which a person can be released, which is normally a bond. So, for example, if there is a bond set which is a $50,000 bond and that’s not able to be posted by the defendant, then the defendant’s lawyer generally files a motion asking the court to lower that bond.
So, competent lawyers…good aggressive lawyers will generally file a written Motion to Modify Release Conditions after consultation with the defendant, the defendant’s family, and maybe even a bondsman. Then, the judge will make a determination about lowering that bond amount. The State gets 10-days to respond, so generally, this can take a little bit of time.
So, the lawyers at my firm will generally do their best to set a hearing with the court, 10-days after that motion is filed. That’s pretty much how Motions to Modify Release and Release Conditions work.