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So when a person gets arrested in Pennsylvania the first thing that they will do is they will, if you’re in the counties, go in front of a magistrate judge. If you’re in Philadelphia you’ll go in front of a bail commissioner and you will have bail set. Now if that bail is set at ROR or some dollar amount that’s unsecured that means you don’t have to pay a cent to get out you just have to sign on the dotted line to promise that you’ll come to court. However, if there is some sort of cash bail that is set then the person is obligated to get in touch with their family who can hopefully pay that bail or get a bail bondsman to assist them to pay that bail so they don’t go to the county prison.
Now if the family can’t pay that bail within a reasonable time after arrest the individual will get taken to the county prions where they will be processed through. At that point, I can file a bail motion and argue in front of a judge why the magistrate or the bail commissioner set the bail too high. And that may be because the bail commissioner didn’t have all the information that I’m able to get but maybe a week after the arrest I’m able to get a letter from an employer, I’m able to get a recent paystub, I’m able to get character letters. I can get friends and family to come into court and show support that they’re gonna be there and make sure that this person stays on the right side of the law and cooperates and continues to come to court at every listing. So I can oftentimes get bail reduced based on factors that the magistrate or the bail commissioner weren’t considering at the time and hopefully, I can get it low enough that the family can then pay it and have their loved one released.
Philadelphia, PA criminal defense attorney Brian Fishman talks explains how the bail process works in the state of Pennsylvania.