Bond in Colorado

After an arrest in Colorado, you may be released on a bail bond with the assurance that you will appear for your future court dates. If you have a low risk of failing to appear and a low risk of harm to the community, the court may be able to release you on your own recognizance. If you are facing a serious crime, have a risk of failing to appear, or present a perceived risk to the community, the court can require you post a bail bond to ensure you will appear in court. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

1. What is a bail bond?

A bond is an agreement to the court and a condition of release after an arrest. A bond can require putting up money, putting up property, or promising to abide by certain conditions in order to be released. If you do not comply with the conditions of release, you may have your bond revoked. If you fail to appear in court after posting bond, you may have a warrant issued for your arrest and forfeit any security interest put up as part of your bond.

A surety bond generally involves going through a bail bond company. The bail bond company is a third-party that agrees to be responsible for the defendant in exchange for taking a fee (10% to 15% of the bond amount), and securing collateral.

2. How is bond different than bail?

In Colorado, “bond” is an undertaking, with or without sureties or security, entered into by a person in custody to bind him or her to comply with the conditions of the undertaking and in default of compliance, to pay the amount of bail or other sum in the bond.1

“Bail” is a security, which may include a bond, required by a court for the release of a person in custody set to provide reasonable assurance of public safety and court appearance.”2

In most cases, bail refers to the money put up by an individual or their family to be held by the court until the defendant's case is concluded. Posting bond generally involves a bail bond company. When the individual or their family does not have enough money to put up the full bail amount, they may pay a fee of 10% to 15% to a bail bond company, often secured by some type of collateral.

3. How much does bond cost in Colorado?

There are a number of conditions that affect how much it will cost to get you out of jail. The amount of bond and bond conditions should be enough to ensure public safety and to ensure the appearance of the defendant in court. This includes basing the amount on the individual's situation and their financial condition.3

A bond schedule sets guidelines for the bond amount based on the specific violation. This includes municipal violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Some violations, such as a traffic infraction, may require no bond to release the individual. More serious violations, such as a class 1 felony for first-degree murder, have no bond amounts under the guidelines. Without the ability to post bond, a defendant may have to stay in jail until their court case is concluded.

Courts in Colorado may use the Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool (CPAT) to determine whether an individual is likely to return to court and/or reoffend while on release. This involves assigning a score based on the following factors:

  1. Having a home or mobile phone
  2. Owning or renting a residence
  3. Contributing to residential payments
  4. Past or current problems with alcohol
  5. Past or current mental health treatment
  6. Age when first arrested
  7. Past jail sentence
  8. Past prison sentence
  9. Having active arrest warrants
  10. Having other pending cases
  11. Currently on supervision
  12. History of revoked bond or supervision

Based on the defendant's score, he or she is assigned to a risk category that relates to their likelihood of making a court appearance or reoffending while on release. Level 1 is the lowest pretrial risk category with level 4 being the highest risk category.

4. What kinds of bonds are there?

There are a number of types of bonds available to release someone from jail. However, the court may only allow certain types of bond, depending on the defendant's offense and risk assessment factor, subject to statutory conditions of release.

  1. An “unsecured personal recognizance bond” allows the defendant to be released “in an amount specified by the court.” The defendant may have a set bond amount on their personal recognizance (PR) release; however, they do not have to give the court a security interest. The defendant can go free without posting bail or getting a bail bond. 4
  2. An “unsecured personal recognizance bond with additional nonmonetary conditions” may require additional conditions of release, in addition to an amount specified by the court. Similar to a PR release, the defendant may have to abide by certain nonmonetary conditions to ensure they do not reoffend and will reappear in court.5
  3. “Bond with secured monetary condition,” which are reasonable and necessary to ensure the appearance of the person in court or the safety of the community.6 This may require providing the court bail money directly, or contacting a bail bond company and pay the bail bond fee.
  4. “Bond with secured real estate conditions,” when it is determined that release on an unsecured personal recognizance bond without monetary conditions will not ensure the appearance of the person in court or the safety of the community. A property bond is more rarely issued that other types of bond. The court places a lien on property to ensure the defendant's appearance. If they do not appear, the court may foreclose on the property. 7

5. What are bond conditions?

In addition to setting a monetary bond amount, the court may impose conditions on the conduct of the person released to assist in obtaining the appearance of the person in court and the safety of the community. Conditions may include:

  • Periodic telephone contact;
  • Periodic office visits;
  • Periodic visits to the person's home;
  • Periodic drug or alcohol testing;
  • Mental health or domestic violence counseling;
  • Substance abuse treatment;
  • Pretrial work release; and
  • Electronic monitoring.8

Call us for help...

If you have been arrested and are awaiting a bond hearing in Colorado, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.

See our information pages on the Denver County Jail, the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, the Broomfield Jail and Alamosa County Jail.

Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 16-1-104(5)
  2. C.R.S. 16-1-104(3)
  3. C.R.S. 16-4-103(3)(a)
  4. C.R.S. 16-4-104(1)(a)
  5. C.R.S. 16-4-104(1)(b)
  6. C.R.S. 16-4-104(1)(c)
  7. C.R.S. 16-4-104(1)(d)
  8. C.R.S. 16-4-105(8)


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