When you or a loved one is arrested and awaiting trial, chances are the judge will set a specific bail amount. But how is that bail amount determined? The answer to this age-old question can be answered quickly once you better understand both the judicial system and the bail bond industry as a whole. Here is what you need to know about bail and how bail amounts are determined:
What is Bail?
Bail is the amount of money determined by the court to ensure a defendant’s appearance in future court proceedings. When you pay bail, you’ll be released from jail and sent home to be with your family and prepare your defense. Then you’ll return to court for any upcoming trial dates.
However, if you fail to appear at court, not only is your bail amount forfeit, but a warrant for your arrest will be released, and you’ll be tracked down and put in a cell.
Factors in Determining Bail Amounts
The judge is solely responsible for setting bail based on several factors, such as:
- The nature of the crime committed and any circumstances relevant to the case surrounding the crime
- Any evidence against the defendant and how likely it is to lead to a conviction
- Past and present conduct of the defendant
- Criminal history
- Community history
- Current criminal status
- The defendant’s risk to the public, law enforcement, and themselves
Once Bail Is Set
Once the judge has set bail, the defendant undergoes booking. Booking provides the defendant with an opportunity to post bail or arrange for someone to post bail on his or her behalf. It is here that most call friends and family for money or a local bail bond agency for 24-hour bail bond services.