Bryan Porter, Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Alexandria, said that, effective immediately, his assistants will no longer recommend that cash bail be required in any misdemeanor case. Instead, his assistants will recommend that the accused be released on personal recognizance with attendant conditions such as pretrial supervision unless the person presents a substantial danger to the community or there is significant evidence that the person is unlikely to appear for trial.
“There is no reason why an accused citizen should be required to post a cash bond for a low-level, non-violent offense,” Porter said. “For example, an indigent citizen charged with trespassing should not languish in jail before trial because he cannot afford to pay a bondsman to post a $500 cash bond on his behalf. In these cases, the law prefers that the accused citizen be released on his or her promise to appear.
“I note that my office has a duty to protect the citizenry. In cases where the accused poses a significant risk to the community, such as stalking, sexual battery or offenses involving a firearm, or in cases where the accused has demonstrated that he or she is unlikely to appear for trial, my office retains the ability to recommend that bail not be granted pending trial.
“I am particularly interested in reviewing the forthcoming report on the pretrial process that is being prepared by the Virginia Crime Commission, which is described as a ‘comprehensive’ study. I will consider additional changes to our bail practices after this report is released.
“I also note that a robust, well-funded pretrial supervision program is a requisite part of our new policy. While I commend the Sheriff for the professionalism of his program, I will continue to advocate for additional resources for pretrial supervision.”