A person who is arrested for a crime or felony, or the defendant, is detained or sent to jail to make sure that they show up in court when needed. The justice system allows the defendant to prove their innocence in court, this is why they are also afforded the right to temporarily be released from police custody by posting bail, which may either be done by a loved one or with the help of a bail bondsman.
Bail schedules suggest how much bail is required based on the type and severity of the crime committed. Depending on the nature of the offense committed, the presiding judge may opt to raise or lower the bail amount or altogether deny granting bail.
Factors that Affect Bail Amount
The amount of bail is usually decided in a bail hearing. A judge determines the amount of bail based on many factors. Here are some of them:
Severity of Crime
The nature of crime and the circumstances involved affect the bail amount. The more dangerous or violent the crime, the higher the bail.
Threat to Society
Public safety is a primary consideration in determining bail amount. During a bail hearing, not only does the court evaluates if the defendant is likely to make court appearances. The judge also assesses whether the defendant will be a threat to themselves or the community in case they are released on bail. The higher the danger they impose, the greater the amount of bail can be. Or, the judge may decide not to grant bail at all.
If the defendant’s criminal record includes past convictions, then it is likely that a higher bail amount will be set. The judge may also increase the amount of bail if the defendant is on probation, parole, or in another criminal proceeding. If there is a warrant of arrest issued, the judge may deny bail to keep the defendant in custody.
If the defendant has a past court case, the judge also checks if the defendant has failed to appear when called to court.
The judge is likely to set a higher bail amount if the defendant is deemed to be a flight risk. If the accused is not a citizen of the country or has only been residing in the community for a short time, the accused may have greater chances at failing to appear in court. During a bail hearing, some of the factors that a judge looks into are the defendant’s family ties, connections with the society, length of residency, length of employment, and financial resources. These factors contribute to the defendant’s ability to fulfill his duty to appear in court proceedings.
Once the bail amount is set, the defendant goes through the booking process, where they can post bail or have the bail posted on their behalf. The defendant will also be asked to sign a release document that indicates conditions that they must follow while out on bail. After this, the defendant will be released and will have to wait until called upon by the court for trial.