Can the judge set restrictions on my behavior, along with bail?

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Question:

The judge told me to stay away from my ex-wife and to live with my brother while awaiting trial. Is this legal?

Answer:

Judges have the power to place restrictions on defendants as a condition of releasing them on bail. These conditions should be reasonable and based on the facts of the case that are known so far.

Typical Restrictions

Depending on the offense charged, a defendant may have to agree to:

- abstain from excessive use of alcohol or drugs, and from possession of weapons
- avoid contact with a victim or witnesses
- report regularly to a law enforcement officer
- undergo a medical or psychological counseling program
- maintain or seek employment
- maintain or seek an educational program, and
- remain in the custody of a designated relative or other person (perhaps under “house arrest”).

Violating a Condition of Bail

Judges can revoke the bail of a suspect who violates a condition of bail. For example, if a suspect who is ordered to enroll in a counseling program fails to do so, the judge can revoke the suspect’s bail and issue a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. Or, if the judge does not consider the violation to be overly serious, the judge may simply raise the amount of bail (or require bail from a suspect previously released O.R.).

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