Bail on appeal

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Bail on appeal

If an individual gets out on a bail which was set at sentencing because of pending appeal in process, does that bail last for eacj appeal process – or can it be recinded if the appeal is denied at one of the levels (now at Superior Court). We can only afford it once.

Asked on April 29, 2009 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 15 years ago | Contributor

See the following (especially 521(B)):

But it appears to depend on discretion of judge, possibility of fleeing, and the defendant must file a post sentence motion or perfect an appeal.  Talk to your lawyer about the logistics.

Rule 704. Procedure at Time of Sentencing.


   (1)  Except as provided by Rule 702(B), sentence in a court case shall ordinarily be imposed within 90 days of conviction or the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

   (2)  When the date for sentencing in a court case must be delayed, for good cause shown, beyond the time limits set forth in this rule, the judge shall include in the record the specific time period for the extension.

   (3)  In a summary case appeal, sentence shall be imposed immediately following a determination of guilt at a trial de novo in the court of common pleas.


   (1)  Under extraordinary circumstances, when the interests of justice require, the trial judge may, before sentencing, hear an oral motion in arrest of judgment, for a judgment of acquittal, or for a new trial.

   (2)  The judge shall decide a motion for extraordinary relief before imposing sentence, and shall not delay the sentencing proceeding in order to decide it.

   (3)  A motion for extraordinary relief shall have no effect on the preservation or waiver of issues for post-sentence consideration or appeal.


   (1)  At the time of sentencing, the judge shall afford the defendant the opportunity to make a statement in his or her behalf and shall afford counsel for both parties the opportunity to present information and argument relative to sentencing.

   (2)  The judge shall state on the record the reasons for the sentence imposed.

   (3)  The judge shall determine on the record that the defendant has been advised of the following:

     (a)   of the right to file a post-sentence motion and to appeal, of the time within which the defendant must exercise those rights, and of the right to assistance of counsel in the preparation of the motion and appeal;

     (b)   of the rights,

       (i)   if the defendant is indigent, to proceed in forma pauperis and to proceed with appointed counsel as provided in Rule 122; or,

       (ii)   if represented by retained counsel, to proceed with retained counsel unless the court has granted leave for counsel to withdraw pursuant to Rule 120(B);

     (c)   of the time limits within which post-sentence motions must be decided;

     (d)   that issues raised before or during trial shall be deemed preserved for appeal whether or not the defendant elects to file a post-sentence motion; and

     (e)   of the defendant’s qualified right to bail under Rule 521(B).

   (4)  The judge shall require that a record of the sentencing proceedings be made and preserved so that it can be transcribed as needed. The record shall include:

     (a)   the record of any stipulation made at a pre-sentence conference; and

     (b)   a verbatim account of the entire sentencing proceeding.




   The rule is intended to promote prompt and fair sentencing procedures by providing reasonable time limits for those procedures, and by requiring that the defendant be fully informed of his or her post-sentence rights and the procedural requirements which must be met to preserve those rights.


Rule 521. Bail After Finding of Guilt.


   (1)  Capital and Life Imprisonment Cases

   When a defendant is found guilty of an offense which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, the defendant shall not be released on bail.

   (2)  Other Cases

     (a)   The defendant shall have the same right to bail after verdict and before the imposition of sentence as the defendant had before verdict when the aggregate of possible sentences to imprisonment on all outstanding verdicts against the defendant within the same judicial district cannot exceed 3 years.

     (b)   Except as provided in paragraph (A)(1), when the aggregate of possible sentences to imprisonment on all outstanding verdicts against the defendant within the same judicial district can exceed 3 years, the defendant shall have the same right to bail as before verdict unless the judge makes a finding:

       (i)   that no one or more conditions of bail will reasonably ensure that the defendant will appear and comply with the conditions of the bail bond;or

       (ii)   that the defendant poses a danger to any other person or to the community or to himself or herself.

     The judge may revoke or refuse to set bail based upon such a finding.


   (1)  When the sentence imposed includes imprisonment of less than 2 years, the defendant shall have the same right to bail as before verdict, unless the judge, pursuant to paragraph (D), modifies the bail order.

   (2)  Except as provided in paragraph (A)(1), when the sentence imposed includes imprisonment of 2 years or more, the defendant shall not have the same right to bail as before verdict, but bail may be allowed in the discretion of the judge.

   (3)  When the defendant is released on bail after sentencing, the judge shall require as a condition of release that the defendant either file a post-sentence motion and perfect an appeal or, when no post-sentence motion is filed, perfect an appeal within the time permitted by law.


 Whenever bail is refused or revoked under this rule, the judge shall state on the record the reasons for this decision.


   (1)  When a defendant is eligible for release on bail after verdict or after sentencing pursuant to this rule, the existing bail order may be modified by a judge of the court of common pleas, upon the judge’s own motion or upon motion of counsel for either party with notice to opposing counsel, in open court on the record when all parties are present.

   (2)  The decision whether to change the type of release on bail or what conditions of release to impose shall be based on the judge’s evaluation of the information about the defendant as it relates to the release criteria set forth in Rule 523. The judge shall also consider whether there is an increased likelihood of the defendant’s fleeing the jurisdiction or whether the defendant is a danger to any other person or to the community or to himself or herself.

   (3)  The judge may change the type of release on bail, impose additional nonmonetary conditions as provided in Rule 527, or, if appropriate, impose or increase a monetary condition as provided in Rule 528.


 Bail after a finding of guilt in the Municipal Court of Philadelphia shall be governed by the rules set forth in Chapter 10.




   For post-sentence procedures generally, see Rules 704 and 720. For additional procedures in cases in which a sentence of death or life imprisonment has been imposed, see Rules 810 and 811.

   For purposes of this rule, ‘‘verdict’’ includes a plea of guilty or nolo contendere which is accepted by the judge.

   Whenever the trial judge sets bail after sentencing pending appeal, paragraph (B)(3) requires that a condition of release be that the defendant perfect a timely appeal. However, the trial judge cannot, as part of that condition, require that the defendant perfect the appeal in less time than that allowed by law.

   Unless bail is revoked, the bail bond is valid until full and final disposition of the case. See Rule 534. The Rule 534 Comment points out that the bail bond is valid through all avenues of direct appeal in the Pennsylvania courts, but not through any collateral attack.

   Official Note

   Former Rule 4009, previously Rule 4011, adopted November 22, 1965, effective June 1, 1966; renumbered Rule 4009 and title amended July 23, 1973, effective 60 days hence; rescinded September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996, and replaced by Rule 532. Present Rule 4009 adopted September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996. The January 1, 1996 effective dates extended to April 1, 1996; the April 1, 1996 effective dates extended to July 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 521 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised June 4, effective November 1, 2004.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the March 22, 1993 amendments to former Rule 4010B(3), included in new Rule 521(B)(3), published with the Court’s Order at 23 Pa.B. 1699 (April 10, 1993).

   Final Report explaining the provisions of the new rule published with Court’s Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1477 (March 18, 2000).




   The provisions of this Rule 521 amended June 4, 2004, effective November 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 3105. Immediately preceeding text appears at serial pages (264241) to (264243).

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