Federal bonds are required for pretrial inmate release for offenses dealing with crimes on a national level or when state lines are crossed. Some good examples of federal crimes are fraud related to computers, insurance, the internet, mail, taxes, investments, etc. Other serious criminal charges classified as federal are drug and human trafficking, offenses involving immigration or weapons.
When someone is charged with a federal crime, he can expect to receive a longer sentence than when committing a state crime. Judges in federal courts are required to abide by federal sentencing guidelines which involve serious consequences. However, the sentence will take place within a federal prison. On a positive note, federal prisons house mostly non-violent criminals accused of white-collar crimes.
Typically, federal bonds are more-costly than state bonds. The reason being, federal judges are allowed to set bail at a much higher rate. And because criminals who have committed federal crimes have a history of being flight risks, commercial bondsmen usually charge approximately five percent more for federal than state bonds, usually fifteen percent (and sometime higher premiums).
In many instances, federal courts require an additional nebbia hearing to confirm money being used for bail is ‘clean money’. To explain more clearly, the judges want to make sure the bond money is not from selling drugs or some other criminal act. If the court is unable to verify where the money is coming from, bail will be denied. Also, a defendant accused of a federal crime will not be able to post a bond as quickly as someone accused of a state crime. He will have to wait to see an actual judge or be stipulated by a prosecutor who will determine what amount bail will be set at first.
Many crimes are categorized as both state and federal crimes. For example, bank robbery is classified as both, as it involves the Federal Reserve System, but the actual criminal act is committed at a business within the jurisdiction of state law enforcement. Unfortunately, there are situations where a defendant can be prosecuted twice for the same crime if it falls under both state and federal laws. This is what is known as ‘Double Jeopardy’. The U.S. constitution does prevent a person being tried more than once for a crime within the state. However, when someone is accused of a crime that is classified as both state and federal, the Double Jeopardy Clause is not applicable.
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