Probation is a common criminal sentence in Nevada. However, when a defendant is subject to probation, it is important for the courts to make certain that the defendant complies with the obligations imposed as a condition of avoiding incarceration.
Defendants have every incentive to comply with requirements set forth by the court when the court orders probation or a suspended sentence. After all, a defendant does not want to end up being accused of violating probation terms and facing further penalties, which could potentially include incarceration. Still, even with defendants having plenty of reasons to obey the rules, courts sometimes make things harder and more complicated by requiring a surety bond.
Here at LV Criminal Defense, we understand the rules for when the court will order a program of probation secured by a surety bond. We provide assistance to defendants in situations when the court is deciding on sentencing and in situations when the court has commanded a surety bond. Our goal is to help you argue for the most lenient sentence possible and to help you ensure that you are in compliance with all probation terms so you can avoid further problems with the criminal justice system. Call LV Criminal Defense today to find out more about how we help you when you’ve been accused of violating the law or when the court is imposing conditions on probation.
The state sets forth all of the rules for probation and suspension of criminal sentences in Chapter 176A of Nevada’s criminal procedure code. Within the relevant chapter, surety bonds are defined in N.R.S. 176A.080, and the rules for programs of probation secured by surety bonds are found in their own subsection of the chapter, which includes N.R.S. 176A.300 through N.R.S. 176A.370.
A surety bond is defined in N.R.S. 176A.080 as: “a written undertaking, executed by a surety, that a person will, as a result of the bond, participate in a program of probation and that in the event that the person violates a condition of the program of probation, the surety will pay the court the amount of money specified for the bond.” The surety is a third party who effectively guarantees that the first party (the defendant) will comply with court terms set for probation.
N.R.S. 176A.300 indicates that surety bonds can be required for defendants who were found guilty of category C, D, or E felonies or for defendants who pled guilty to these felony offenses. The defendant must not be indigent and must be able to afford the bond. The court will need to first determine if the defendant is eligible for probation. If the court determines that probation is an appropriate sentence, the court can require that the defendant’s participation in the program of probation be secured by a surety bond.
The court will set the surety bond at an amount of money which the court, in its judgement, reasonably believes will ensure that the defendant definitely participates in the program of probation. There are certain requirements for the surety bond, including that it be issued to and payable to the state of Nevada; that it extend for a one year period of time; that it is renewable annually; and that it will ensure full compliance of the defendant with all probation conditions that the court has set.
N.R.S. 176A.310 provides details on the duty of a surety, as well as the obligations of the defendant who is on probation to report to and pay the surety. The court may impose a number of different conditions on the defendant probationer, including submitting to periodic drug and alcohol testing; participating in a program for treating drugs and alcohol; participating in professional counseling; restricting communication with crime victims or witnesses; a requirement to obtain and keep a job; submitting to intensive supervision; avoiding travel outside of court jurisdiction; and paying court costs and fees. Payment of restitution may also be required, and the probationer may be required to participate in educational courses or complete supervised community service. The defendant probationer also has to pay whatever fee the surety charges to execute the bond.
The same statute requires that sureties provide facilities or equipment necessary to carry out drug and alcohol testing; carry out a program of intensive supervision if required; and make it possible for the defendant who is on probation to regularly report to the surety.
If the surety has knowledge of any violations or failures to fulfill a condition of probation, the surety has to notify the court within 24 hours. If the surety fails to provide required facilities or equipment, or if the surety fails to provide required notice to the court, the surety must pay a penalty of $15,000 to the court, in addition to other legal penalties that are imposed by law. If the probationer fails to fulfill any conditions, the court can declare that the surety bond is forfeited, revoke the program of probation; and issue a warrant.
N.R.S. 176A.330 provides details on exoneration of the surety and situations when forfeiture of the surety bond can be set aside, while N.R.S. 176.340 specifies what happens if the surety is not exonerated and forfeiture of the surety bond is not set aside. N.R.S. 176A.350 details when and how the surety is discharged and the bond is released, and N.R.S. 176A.370 indicates that money collected when the surety is held liable will be paid to the state’s general fund. Finally, N.R.S. 176A.360 explains the conditions under which a surety can cause the probationer to be arrested.
A program of probation secured by a surety bond can be very complicated. LV Criminal Defense can provide assistance in situations where a defendant is expected to have a surety as a condition of probation. Give us a call today to speak with a member of our legal team to find out more about the ways in which we can assist you.