Rule 524. Types of Release on Bail.

 (A)  If bail is set pursuant to Rule 520, the defendant shall be eligible for the following types of release on bail. The bail authority, after considering the release criteria in Rule 523, shall determine the type or combination of types of release on bail reasonably necessary, in the bail authority’s discretion, to ensure that the defendant will appear at all subsequent proceedings and comply with the conditions of the bail bond.

 (B)  All of the types of release in paragraph (C) shall be conditioned upon the defendant’s written agreement to appear and to comply with the conditions of the bail bond set forth in Rule 526(A).

 (C)  The types of release on bail are:

   (1)  Release On Recognizance (ROR): Release conditioned only upon the defendant’s written agreement to appear when required and to comply with the conditions of the bail bond in Rule 526(A).

   (2)  Release on Nonmonetary Conditions: Release conditioned upon the defendant’s agreement to comply with any nonmonetary conditions, as set forth in Rule 527, which the bail authority determines are reasonably necessary to ensure the defendant’s appearance and compliance with the conditions of the bail bond.

   (3)  Release on Unsecured Bail Bond: Release conditioned upon the defendant’s written agreement to be liable for a fixed sum of money if he or she fails to appear as required or fails to comply with the conditions of the bail bond. No money or other form of security is deposited.

   (4)  Release on Nominal Bail: Release conditioned upon the defendant’s depositing a nominal amount of cash which the bail authority determines is sufficient security for the defendant’s release, such as $1.00, and the agreement of a designated person, organization, or bail agency to act as surety for the defendant.

   (5)  Release on a Monetary Condition: Release conditioned upon the defendant’s compliance with a monetary condition imposed pursuant to Rule 528. The amount of the monetary condition shall not be greater than is necessary to reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance and compliance with the conditions of the bail bond.

Comment

   The decision as to what type or combination of types of release on bail is appropriate for an individual defendant is within the discretion of the bail authority, using the criteria set forth in Rule 523.

   Consistent with existing practice, the bail authority must initially determine whether the defendant is likely to appear at subsequent proceedings and comply with the conditions of the bail bond set forth in Rule 526(A) if released on ROR.

   The bail rules prior to the 1995 reorganization required a defendant to be released on ROR when the most serious offense charged was punishable by a maximum sentence of imprisonment of not more than 3 years, the defendant was a resident of the Commonwealth, the defendant posed no threat of immediate physical harm to himself or herself or others, and the bail authority had reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant would appear as required. Cases that fall within similar parameters under the new rules adopted in 1995 should continue to be treated in the same manner.

   If the bail authority determines that ROR will not reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance and compliance with the conditions of the bail bond, see Rule 526(A), the bail authority should consider which other type or combination of types of release on bail, as provided in paragraphs (C)(2)—(5) of this rule, will be sufficient to reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance and compliance, taking into consideration facts specific to the individual defendant, such as the need to abstain from the use of alcohol or drugs.

   Nominal bail may be used as an alternative to releasing a defendant on his or her own recognizance when it is desirable to have a surety. It should be used when the bail authority believes the defendant is a sufficiently good bail risk so as not to require the imposition of nonmonetary conditions of release or a monetary condition in a significant amount, but is not sufficiently reliable for ROR. The purpose of the surety is to facilitate interstate apprehension of any defendant who absconds by allowing the nominal surety the right to arrest the defendant without the necessity of extradition proceedings. See Frisbie v. Collins, 342 U.S. 519 (1952). A bail agency may be the nominal bail surety, as well as private individuals or acceptable organizations. In all cases, the surety on nominal bail incurs no financial liability.

   Nonmonetary conditions may be used in conjunction with a monetary condition.

   No condition of release, whether nonmonetary or monetary, should ever be imposed for the sole purpose of ensuring that a defendant remains incarcerated until trial. See Standard 10-5.3, ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Chapter 10, Pretrial Release. However, bail may be initially denied, or subsequently modified or revoked, if the bail authority determines such action is necessary to ensure the defendant’s appearance and compliance.

   Official Note

   Previous Rule 4003, formerly Rule 4007, adopted November 22, 1965, effective June 1, 1966; amended March 18, 1972, effective immediately; renumbered Rule 4003 and paragraph (c) added July 23, 1973, effective 60 days hence; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; rescinded September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996, and replaced in part by present Rule 524. Present Rule 4003 adopted September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996. The January 1, 1996 effective dates extended to April 1, 1996; the April 1, 1996 effective dates extended to July 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 524 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the provisions of the new rule published with Court’s Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1477 (March 18, 2000).



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