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How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Affected the Bail Bond Process in Detroit

The COVID-19 pandemic as affected the bail bond process in Detroit in several ways. This is an image of a man wearing a mask to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Posted 2 years ago by Jim Titus

The pandemic has affected the bail bond process in Detroit in many ways, and that only reinforces the need to find a bail bond agent who is familiar with the ever-changing policies in the metro Detroit area.

When the pandemic first began, the state asked courts to complete as many procedures as possible remotely. As a result of this as well as closures, illnesses, and case postponements, the courts faced backlogs for quite some time. While all of this remained true to a point, some restrictions were lifted in the spring and early summer.

And then came the Delta variant and even more COVID-19 cases throughout metro Detroit. What will happen now? No one knows for sure. It seems that policies are fluctuating every day, and no one can predict the future with certainty. But one thing is certain: If you need a bail bond in Detroit, you should choose a bail bond agent who stays up-to-date on the changes … because there are many.

The Bail Bond Process in Detroit during the COVID-19 Pandemic

At one point, jails and prisons became epicenters for COVID-19 infections, and that potentially is still true today were it not for efforts to curb transmission of the virus.

In some states, bail amounts for low-level crimes were reduced or eliminated temporarily, thereby keeping people out of the jails. This also may have reduced the number of people who were in jail waiting for trials but could not afford bail.

The state of Michigan noted that the COVID-19 pandemic presented a particularly significant risk to incarcerated individuals, who might not be able to social distance, regularly wash their hands, or quarantine if necessary. 

Although many court cases are going through the court system at a slower pace due to the backlog, the foundational laws and policies remain the same, such as the requirement that an arrestee must be arraigned within three days after the arrest. In other words, the cases did not vanish. Most are still there awaiting their day in court.

One change we have seen is more individuals being released on their own recognizance rather than being required to post bail. Doing so allows arrestees to be released sooner, reducing the possibility of infection being spread throughout the jails and to officers, attorneys, jurors, and judges. 

Another change is a greater use of video technology for court hearings. Video arraignments have been used for many years, which is especially useful for arraignments that must occur on the weekend. Today, courts may rely on this technology more often in an effort to keep individuals out of the courthouses.

Attorneys in some states even reduced the number of low-level cases they prosecuted in order to keep people from coming in and out of the courtrooms. That doesn’t necessarily mean the cases were dismissed; many may have been simply placed on hold, leading to the backlog of cases.

The Michigan Judicial System’s “Phased Approach”

As of August 21, 2021, 59.8% of Michigan residents are fully vaccinated, and 65% had had at least one dose of the vaccine.

However, courts are taking what they are calling a “phased approach” for a “Return to Full Capacity.”

The courts will continue safety measures such as the use of face masks in most cases, social distancing, and handling cases remotely when possible.  At the same time, individual jurisdictions have some authority regarding prevention measures. According to the Return to Full Capacity document, courts statewide will return to full capacity on their own timelines. 

“Although there will be a time when litigants and the public can return to the courtrooms for more proceedings, we must change our philosophy and only require attendance when absolutely necessary,” the document states. “Each court’s plan and definition of ‘full capacity’ should take advantage of technology to the extent possible under current administrative orders.”

Furthermore, due to the difficulty of determining who is vaccinated and who is not, the courts continue to require visitors, jurors, and attorneys to wear masks when entering the buildings. Employees who are not vaccinated also must continue to wear the masks.

For all of these reasons and more, working with a bail bond agent who is familiar with processes within each metro Detroit jurisdiction can be helpful in getting your bail bond processed sooner rather than later. If you need a bail bond in Detroit, contact our team. We can help you determine the steps that need to be taken in your area. 

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