In case you are unsure of what bail is, it is the amount of money set by a judge to secure a person’s appearance in all court proceedings prior to their sentence. If the defendant fails to show in court, they or their cosigner will be required to pay the full bail amount. Since bail depends on several factors, the amount varies from case to case. If you or someone you know has recently been arrested, here are a few things you should expect to influence the amount when bail is set.
How Bail is Set
After a person has been arrested, a judge will set bail at the first court date. While bail may generally be set at around $500 for minor misdemeanors, a judge can choose to either raise or lower that amount based on the situation and circumstances of the case. Just because someone’s bail has been set as high as a million dollars, that doesn’t mean that they have murdered someone. In fact, those charged with a crime as serious as murder or a capital crime typically won’t make bail. Large bail amounts usually just mean that the court thinks there’s a chance the person might not return for trial or the court believes the defendant is dangerous to society. The more serious the crime and the higher the flight risk, the higher the amount of bail is likely to be.
Factors That Influence Bail
Amount of Evidence
Depending on the amount of evidence against a person, a judge will consider if they seem to be guilty or not and the odds of them being sentenced guilty for the evidence. If the defendant is likely guilty, bail will tend to be higher to discourage the guilty person from trying to run.
If the person is known for having done other crimes in the past, bail will be set high in order to protect the community from them in the event of a repeat offense.
Risk to the Community
Public safety is an important consideration in setting bail. If the defendant has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender, they will likely be considered a risk to the community and be given a higher bail amount.
If a person is guilty and knows their chances of being given a bad sentence is high, they would be considered a flight risk as they are likely to skip their trial. Another warning sign of a flight risk is that they have a passport, family in another country, or a history of skipping bail.
Severity of the Offense
The worse the crime, the higher the bail; the more minor the crime, the less the bail. The amount set for bail may also depend on if there are large fines involved with the crime or considerable jail time expected.
What Happens Once Bail is Set?
After bail is determined, the defendant gets booked and bail is posted on their behalf. Whoever signs the bail contract must have enough money or assets to cover the cost in case the defendant skips bail. Once someone signs this contract, the defendant will be free to go until their next court date to begin their trial or deliver a sentence.
Since there is no rule for what amount to set bail for, most judges will follow the precedent of how similar cases have been handled in the past along with taking these five factors into consideration. If you ever need help with your bail amount, call Titan Bail Bonds at (615) 796-4955.