2012 Vermont Statutes
Title 13 Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Chapter 229 BAIL AND RECOGNIZANCES
§ 7554 Release prior to trial


13 V.S.A. § 7554. What's This?

§ 7554. Release prior to trial

(a) Any person charged with an offense, other than a person held without bail under section 7553 or 7553a of this title, shall at his or her appearance before a judicial officer be ordered released pending trial in accordance with this section.

(1) The person shall be ordered released on personal recognizance or upon the execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the judicial officer unless the judicial officer determines that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required. In determining whether the person presents a risk of nonappearance, the judicial officer shall consider, in addition to any other factors, the seriousness of the offense charged and the number of offenses with which the person is charged. If the officer determines that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required, the officer shall, either in lieu of or in addition to the above methods of release, impose the least restrictive of the following conditions or the least restrictive combination of the following conditions which will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required:

(A) Place the person in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him or her.

(B) Place restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode of the person during the period of release.

(C) Require the person to participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program. The judicial officer shall take into consideration the defendant's ability to comply with an order of treatment and the availability of treatment resources.

(D) Require the execution of a secured appearance bond in a specified amount and the deposit with the clerk of the court, in cash or other security as directed, of a sum not to exceed 10 percent of the amount of the bond, such deposit to be returned upon the appearance of the person as required.

(E) Require the execution of a surety bond with sufficient solvent sureties, or the deposit of cash in lieu thereof.

(F) Impose any other condition found reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, including a condition requiring that the person return to custody after specified hours.

(2) If the judicial officer determines that conditions of release imposed to assure appearance will not reasonably protect the public, the judicial officer may in addition impose the least restrictive of the following conditions or the least restrictive combination of the following conditions which will reasonably assure protection of the public:

(A) Place the person in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him or her.

(B) Place restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode of the person during the period of release.

(C) Require the person to participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program. The judicial officer shall take into consideration the defendant's ability to comply with an order of treatment and the availability of treatment resources.

(D) Impose any other condition found reasonably necessary to protect the public, except that a physically restrictive condition may only be imposed in extraordinary circumstances.

(E) If the person is a state, county, or municipal officer charged with violating section 2537 of this title, the court may suspend the officer's duties in whole or in part, if the court finds that it is necessary to protect the public.

(3) A judicial officer may order that a defendant not harass or contact or cause to be harassed or contacted a victim or potential witness. This order shall take effect immediately, regardless of whether the defendant is incarcerated or released.

(b) In determining which conditions of release to impose under subsection (a) of this section, the judicial officer shall, on the basis of available information, take into account the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the accused, the accused's family ties, employment, financial resources, character and mental condition, the length of residence in the community, record of convictions, and record of appearance at court proceedings or of flight to avoid prosecution or failure to appear at court proceedings. Recent history of actual violence or threats of violence may be considered by the judicial officer as bearing on the character and mental condition of the accused.

(c) A judicial officer authorizing the release of a person under this section shall issue an appropriate order containing a statement of the conditions imposed, if any, shall inform such person of the penalties applicable to violations of the conditions of release and shall advise him or her that a warrant for his or her arrest will be issued immediately upon any such violation.

(d)(1) A person for whom conditions of release are imposed and who is detained as a result of his or her inability to meet the conditions of release or who is ordered released on a condition that he or she return to custody after specified hours shall, within 48 hours of application, be entitled to have the conditions reviewed by a judge in the court having original jurisdiction over the offense charged. A person applying for review shall be given the opportunity for a hearing. Unless the conditions of release are amended as requested, the judge shall set forth in writing or orally on the record a reasonable basis for continuing the conditions imposed. In the event that a judge in the court having original jurisdiction over the offense charged is not available, any superior judge may review such conditions.

(2) A person for whom conditions of release are imposed shall, within five working days of application, be entitled to have the conditions reviewed by a judge in the court having original jurisdiction over the offense charged. A person applying for review shall be given the opportunity for a hearing. Unless the conditions of release are amended as requested, the judge shall set forth in writing or orally on the record a reasonable basis for continuing the conditions imposed. In the event that a judge in the court having original jurisdiction over the offense charged is not available, any superior judge may review such conditions.

(e) A judicial officer ordering the release of a person on any condition specified in this section may at any time amend the order to impose additional or different conditions of release; provided that the provisions of subsection (d) of this section shall apply.

(f) The term "judicial officer" as used in this section and section 7556 of this title shall mean a clerk of a superior court or a superior judge.

(g) Information stated in, or offered in connection with, any order entered pursuant to this section need not conform to the rules pertaining to the admissibility of evidence in a court of law.

(h) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prevent the disposition of any case or class of cases by forfeiture of collateral security where such disposition is authorized by the court.

(i) The court administrator shall establish forms for appearance bonds, secured appearance bonds, surety bonds, and for use in the posting of bail. Each form shall include the following information:

(1) The bond or bail may be forfeited in the event that the defendant or witness fails to appear at any required court proceeding.

(2) The surety or person posting bond or bail has the right to be released from the obligations under the bond or bail agreement upon written application to the judicial officer and detention of the defendant or witness.

(3) The bond will continue through sentencing in the event that bail is continued after final adjudication. (Added 1967, No. 337 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 1969, No. 125, § 12; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1987, No. 102, § 2; 1989, No. 293 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 5, 2002; 2003, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. March 1, 2004; 2005, No. 63, § 10; 2005, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2007, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 118.)

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