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When Posting Bail Isn't Enough For Release: Nebbia Hearings

by Joel Wheeler

When it comes to criminal cases, bail is a very important issue. No one wants to spend more time in jail or prison than they have to, so if bail is an option, a defendant will want to post it quickly and be able to go home while preparing their case. But what if, even though the money for the bail bond has been secured, the court is demanding a Nebbia hearing before the defendant can be released?

What Is A Nebbia Hearing?

The purpose of a Nebbia hearing is to determine where the money for the bail bond is coming from. Most federal criminal cases involving bail bonds require a Nebbia hearing, but judges in state court can also hold these hearings at the court's discretion. They are especially common in cases involving fraud or drugs where the court might have some question as to whether the bail money was obtained by illegal means.

What Must The Defendant Prove?

The purpose of requiring bail is to give defendants a strong incentive not to try to skip out on their court appearances. The idea behind the Nebbia hearing is that, if this bail money is the fruit of an illegal activity, it won't have this desired effect. So the court is allowed to investigate the source of the bail funds and determine where the money came from.

The defendant must show the source of the bail money, no matter whether it is being paid directly, through a bail bond company, or by a friend or relative. Generally this involves financial paperwork such as bank records, tax returns, business records, or other accounting documents; testimony alone is not sufficient proof.

How Can You Minimize Delays From A Nebbia Hearing?

Since it is a legal hearing, it's important to let your criminal defense attorney guide you through the process of the Nebbia hearing. In addition, since the bond documentation and paperwork can be complicated, you will want the help of a bail bond company with experience in Nebbia hearings. If the case is a federal one, look for a company that specializes in federal bail bonds as well.

By having these professionals on your side, you can move through the process as quickly as possible. Mistakes in paperwork or in presenting evidence can mean delays in lifting the hold on the bail bond; in the worst case, it could even mean the defendant being required to stay in prison during their trial.

Contact a company such as Bob Shropshire & Sons to learn more.