There has been a continuing trend in Washington State Criminal Courts toward requiring higher bail. Even so, the law and court rules require that the court presume personal recognizance release of a person accused of a crime (CrR 3.2). The Washington Constitution, Bill of Rights, Article 1, sections 14 and 20, provide the right to reasonable bail in all criminal cases except capital offenses and potential life sentence cases:


Excessive bail shall not be required, excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishment inflicted.


All persons charged with crime shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident, or the presumption great. Bail may be denied for offenses punishable by the possibility of life in prison upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence of a propensity for violence that creates a substantial likelihood of danger to the community or any persons, subject to such limitations as shall be determined by the legislature. [AMENDMENT 104, 2010 Engrossed Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 4220, p 3129. Approved November 2, 2010.]

Washington State Criminal Court Rule 3.2 provides for release of an accused person in non-capital and non-life sentence cases except where the court determines that release on their promise to reappear will not assure their return to court when required or where there is a likely danger that they will commit a violent crime or seek to intimidate witnesses or unlawfully interfere with the administration of justice.The rule requires that the court is to impose the least restrictive conditions on a person to insure their future appearance in court and community protection. The rule provides a list of non-inclusive factors that the court is to consider when determining future appearance or substantial danger. These include:

  • the nature of the charge,
  • past record of threats,
  • evidence of current threats,
  • probation record,
  • history of weapons use,
  • a history of failing to appear in court,
  • employment status,
  • enrollment in school,
  • counseling or treatment,
  • family ties and relationships,
  • mental condition,
  • reputation and character,
  • length of residence,
  • criminal record,
  • willingness of community members to vouch for the defendant’s reliability and assist him in complying with the conditions of release.

The most effective bail hearings provide this information to the court and corroborate the information with documents and members of the community to vouch for the defendant. You can help your lawyer get or keep you out of jail while your case is pending if you can provide him with the information in the list above.

Contact James Feldman Law

Are you or a loved one facing criminal prosecution? Then, contact James Feldman Law. Get the best bail outcome possible. Call today at (253) 759-4555.

Last Modified: April 15, 2018