Bail is the security used to guarantee an individual’s appearance in Court.
- Nominal/Release on Own Recognizance (R.O.R.): This is when a person is released from jail without having to put up any cash or other form of security in order to guarantee their appearance in Court.
- Percentage Cash Bail: This form of bail requires the deposit of ten percent (10%) of the face amount of the bond (ex. $5,000 @ 10% = $500). Real estate property, as well as bondsmen and professional surety companies, may be used to post this type of bail.
- Straight or Cash Bail: Requires the posting of the full amount of the face value of the bond (ex. a $5,000 straight bond requires the posting of $5,000 using one of the approved methods by which bond may be posted).
- Non-Monetary: This is similar to R.O.R. but allows for the imposition of pretrial conditions. For example, the completion of a drug and alcohol assessment.
Some of the criteria used in the setting of bail are:
- The nature of the offense charged
- Prior criminal history
- Length of residence in Allegheny County/community ties
- History of prior appearances in Court (bond forfeitures)
- Whether or not the individual poses a threat to the safety of the community
Unless specified by the Court, bail may be posted in one of several ways:
- Real estate property (for information on how to post property contact Pretrial Services (412.350.4732)
- Private bondsman or professional surety company
- Negotiable securities or bearer bonds (please contact the Allegheny County Department of Court Records Office at 412.350.6065 to determine whether or not a security or bearer bond is acceptable)
With the exception of certain cases, bail is typically set at the time of the preliminary arraignment, shortly after the defendant’s arrest.
No. The posting of bonds is the responsibility of private individuals and professional bondsmen or surety companies.
Contact a private attorney or the Office of the Public Defender, 542 Forbes Avenue, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, telephone number 412.350.2401 to determine if the individual you are inquiring about is eligible for a bail reduction or modification.
No. A bail modification proceeding is a service provided free of charge by Pretrial Services, however, a private attorney, in most instances, will charge a fee if he or she is present at a bail hearing.
Only once, unless some significant change occurs with regard to the charges, or an attorney files a written petition seeking reconsideration of bail.
The Department of Court Records office refunds bail money upon the completion of the case. For refund information call 412.350.3227.
Contact your attorney (if you have retained one) and Pretrial Services’ Bail Unit IMMEDIATELY at 412.350.4732. Pretrial Services offers a walk-in service to have some types of bonds reinstated the same day. To access this service, you must report to Pretrial Services, 564 Fourth Avenue, 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, by 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. This process may take up to four hours. The walk-in service does not address arrest warrants issued by Magisterial District Judges, probation violation warrants, or Family Division warrants.
Upon an individual’s arrest due to a bench warrant, the individual is lodged in the Allegheny County Jail and Pretrial Services is notified. Pretrial Services will interview the defendant, complete a bail recommendation for consideration by the Court, and contact the Court to schedule a bail review hearing within 72 hours. The defendant will remain lodged in the Allegheny County Jail until a subpoena is issued for the next court appearance.
Eligibility is determined on a case by case basis.
Defendants who are charged with serious crimes may be considered for Pretrial Electronic Monitoring. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Candidates for admittance to the program will have their cases presented before a Common Pleas Criminal Division Motions Court Judge. The judge will make the decision whether or not the individual will be placed on electronic monitoring.
Yes. Fees vary based on an individual’s income and are determined by the Electronic Monitoring Program. Payments are made as outlined in a payment agreement. Also, a defendant may be required to pay transportation costs.
It is the decision of the sentencing judge whether time served on Pretrial Electronic Monitoring is credited towards any sentence that might be imposed.
An attorney must complete and submit the Bail Review Request Form to the Pretrial Services Bail Unit. A response to the bail review form will be faxed or emailed, or a phone call will be made to the requesting attorney within three (3) business days of receipt of the completed form.
In this case, there are two options. You can turn yourself in to the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office and you will be interviewed by the Pretrial Bail Investigator at the Allegheny County Jail, or you can report to the Pretrial Services Office (4th Floor, Manor Building, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219) by 9:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, to be interviewed and processed through Motions Court the same day.
Some criteria used in determining bail amount and type are:
- The nature of the offense charged and any mitigating or aggravating factors that may bear upon the likelihood of conviction and possible penalty;
- The defendant’s employment status and history, and financial conditions;
- The nature of the defendant’s family relationships;
- The length and nature of the defendant’s residence in the community, and any past residences;
- The defendant’s age, character, reputation, mental condition, and whether addicted to alcohol or drugs;
- If the defendant has previously been released on bail, whether he or she appeared as required and complied with the conditions of the bail bond;
- Whether the defendant has any record of flight to avoid arrest or prosecution, or of escape or attempted escape;
- The defendant’s prior criminal record;
- Any use of false identification; and
- Any other factors relevant to whether the defendant will appear as required and comply with the conditions of the bail bond.
You have what is commonly referred to as an arrest record. Entry into the ARD Program requires you to waive federal and state constitutional rights to a speedy trial. The judge, by way of admitting you to the ARD Program, orders the District Attorney to postpone further prosecution of your case during your term in the ARD Program. Acceptance of ARD Probation is neither a conviction nor an acquittal of your criminal charge(s). Therefore, a record check through the Pennsylvania State Police will reveal the criminal charge(s) and the disposition as “unreported.”
Yes, but you may be denied by the Pennsylvania State Police through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has no provision for or against the purchase or ownership of a firearm while on ARD Probation. Once your criminal record is expunged, you should be not be denied the purchase of a firearm by the Pennsylvania State Police.
No, you will not receive notification that your record is expunged. Expungements are done automatically, and the full expungement occurs within 9-12 months of your expiration date, provided all conditions of your ARD probation have been satisfied. This includes full payment of Court costs.
The interlock system is $1,300.00 for an entire year, or $3.83 per day. Additional fees may be added for positive breath samples. Payments can be made in bi-monthly or monthly installments. The first month rental and installation fee is $175.00. Bi-monthly payments are $200.00, and monthly payments are $115.00. The de-installation fee at the end of the program is $75.00.
No, PennDOT will not restore and issue an Ignition Interlock license before the Interlock is installed. After the Interlock is installed, documents are forwarded to PennDOT via the Department of Court Records, then the restoration process begins. It takes approximately ten (10) working days to receive your Interlock license in the mail.
No, the year with the Ignition Interlock starts from the date PennDOT issues the ignition interlock license.
With some license suspensions for DUI, Pennsylvania law requires that in order for an offender’s license to be restored, he/she must certify the dates of all time spent incarcerated as a part of his/her mandatory sentence (Act 151), provide proof of required treatment (Act 122), which includes completing the Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation, Alcohol Highway Safety School (if required), and complete payment of all court costs, restitution, and fines that are owed. Specific questions regarding a driver’s license suspension or reinstatement can be addressed by calling the Allegheny County Ignition Interlock Program at 412.350.6107 or 412.350.6109.
Yes. Pennsylvania DUI Law requires that any individual, 18 years of age and older, must undergo the Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation process for each and every DUI that is incurred. There are no exceptions to this rule. The evaluation must take place in the County where the DUI arrest occurred.
There are four Alcohol Highway Safety Schools that are located regionally throughout Allegheny County. You will be assigned to a school based on your Zip Code. Court Reporting Network (CRN) staff is responsible for providing you with the name, address, and phone number of your assigned program.
Behavior Assessments are ordered by either a Magisterial District Judge or a Common Pleas Judge when there is a question regarding the defendant’s mental competency to continue with the legal process. If the Behavior Assessment Unit Psychiatrist does not clear the defendant, the defendant will not be released to attend any further Court proceedings until he/she is cleared.
If the evaluation is ordered Monday through Friday, the defendant will be seen by a psychiatrist within 48 hours. If the evaluation is ordered on the weekend, the defendant will be seen within 72 hours. Once the evaluation is completed and the defendant has been declared competent, he/she will be released from jail after all other matters holding them have been cleared, i.e. bond and/or detainer(s).
You may contact your local hospital for a referral. Mercy Behavioral Health and Western Psychiatric Institute have mental health and drug and alcohol treatment programs. You may also call the Behavior Assessment Unit (412.350.2560) for referral information.
Pretrial Electronic Monitoring
You must be granted Pretrial Electronic Monitoring by a judge. Once Pretrial Services receives the Court order, an interview is conducted. The defendant must agree to comply with all rules and regulations set forth by the Allegheny County Adult Probation Electronic Monitoring Program and Pretrial Services to be placed on the program.