Alternative Method of Court Appearances Act Exposed

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The Alternative Method of Court Appearances Act is listed under ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force and was included in the 1995 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. According to, the Act was approved by the Board of Directors in January, 1995, reapproved on January 9, 2014. (Accessed on 10/5/2015).

CMD's Bill Summary

This bill is a handout to the commercial bail-bond industry and would prevent courts and law enforcement from exploring genuine "alternative methods of court appearances." Under this bill, for all crimes listed, the only way the accused can be released is through paying a bondsman (which usually requires a nonrefundable payment of 10% of the total bail) or posting 100% of the bail in cash or property. This would prohibit courts, counties, or states from exploring pre-trial release options such as those that include supervised release and efforts to include necessary drug, alcohol, or social interventions. Additionally, payment to a bail bondsman would be the most likely option if this bill were passed -- judges would not set bail at the amount they think appropriate to make sure the person returns to court, but at ten times that amount, knowing that the accused will be released by paying a bondsman 10% of the bail.

ALEC Bill Text


This bill would designate certain crimes as crimes with bail restrictions. Those crimes would include offenses such as murder, kidnapping, burglary, arson, drug-related crimes, racketeering and robbery. Under the bill, persons charged with a crime with bail restrictions would only be permitted to post bail in one of these forms: full cash; a surety bond executed by a licensed corporation, or a bail bond secured by real property.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Title}

This act shall be known and may be cited as: An ACT concerning bail for persons charged with certain offenses.

Section 2. {Definitions}

The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(A)"Crime with bail restrictions" means a crime under any of the following:

(1) Murder
(2) Manslaughter
(3) Death by Auto
(4) Assault
(5) Recklessly Endangering Another Person
(6) Terroristic Threats
(7) Kidnapping
(8) Criminal Restraint
(9) Criminal Coercion
(10) Sexual Assault
(11) Criminal Sexual Contact
(12) Robbery
(13) Carjacking
(14) Arson and Related Offenses
(15) Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage
(16) Burglary
(17) Theft by Extortion
(18) Endangering the Welfare of Children
(19) Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent Person
(20) Threats and Other Improper Influence in Official and Political Matters
(21) Obstructing Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function
(22) Resisting Arrest; Eluding Officer
(23) Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution
(24) Escape
(25) Implements of Escape; Other Contraband
(26) Bail Jumping; Default in Required Appearance
(27) Corrupting or Influencing a Jury
(28) Riot; Failure to Disperse
(29) Placing Signs or Displays that Imply Threats of Violence
(30) Desecrating Religious or Sectarian Premises
(31) Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes
(32) Weapons Training for Illegal Activities
(33) Drug Related Crimes
(34) Racketeering
(35) Violation of a Protective Order

Section 3. {Declaration of policy and rules}

The Legislature finds and declares as follows:

(A) A person charged with a crime with bail restrictions may post the required amount of bail in the form of:

(1) Full cash;
(2) A surety bond executed by a duly licensed bail surety; or,
(3) A bail bond secured by real property situated in this state, fully unencumbered and equal to the amount of bail undertaken plus $5,000.00.

(B) A court may designate the amount of bail without designating the form in which the bail may be posted in any combination of the forms authorized in subsection (A) of this section.

(C) When bail is posted in the form of a bail bond secured by real property, the owner of the real property shall file:

(1) an affidavit containing a legal description of the real property, and that the same in unencumbered;
(2) a professional appraisal, acceptable to the court, of the current market value of the property.

(D) Nothing herein is intended to preclude a court from releasing a person on the person's own recognizance when the court, upon its' own and for itself, determines that the person is deserving.

(E) When a person charged with a criminal offense posts bail, $10.00 of the total amount required to be posed as bail shall be paid in cash as a nonrefundable bail fee.

(1) The bail fee shall forwarded to the appropriate office.
(2) The bail fee shall not be taken from new or additional bail posted pending an appeal of a conviction if a bail fee has already been taken from bail posted prior to that conviction.

Section 4. {Severability clause.}

Section 5. {Repealer clause.}

Section 6. {Effective date.}

ALEC's Sourcebook of American State Legislation 1995