When being arrested on federal charges the prosecution will push for the defendant to be detained (held without bail) while the case is pending. The prosecution will often file a motion for detention and a magistrate judge will hear evidence from both parties to determine whether or not the accused should be detained or released.
The reason for a detention hearing is to bring to light any reasons the defendant might not appear in the court or bring harm to the community if allowed to be released on bond. In most instances, if a there is a drug conspiracy case detention is always presumed. If the magistrate finds that there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed a federal drug crime and could be sentenced to 10 years or more, it is presumed that accused will be detained. However, if the defendant is indicted they are at a disadvantage. An indictment for a federal drug conspiracy means that there is a enough evidence to show there is probable cause, so the defendant most likely will be detained.
Even with the majority of the people the prosecution are fighting to be detained being detained, there are several reasons to fight for release "on conditions". First of all, you always stand a good chance of winning. Judges will listen to all evidence and take in to account all the information given at the hearing before making a decision. There are times the prosecution will try to give the magistrate a reason to doubt the validity or strength of the case, this does play a factor in the judges final decision. The big advantage of of being released on conditions is to make it easier for the defense to build a stronger case when the defendant is free to do as they please rather than being incarcerated.
Second, you may learn things about the case you may not have otherwise known. The prosecution may put the arresting officer(s) or detective(s) (any government agent) on the stand to make a case against the accused but the defense has the opportunity to cross examine the agent and find out exactly what evidence is or isn't out there. Third, this is a good time to see the attorney at work before the case goes to trial. If the attorney does a good job this will instill confidence in the accused and help the lawyer/client relationship and the client will be more likely to take the advice given.
For questions regarding detention hearings, please contact us today.