How Courts Determine Bail

Sep 6, 2012 | Bail Bonds | 0 comments

Courts will take several different factors into consideration when determining how high an individual’s bail amount should be. For more frequent or common crimes, there may be a standard bail amount set while other more unusual crimes or repeat offenses may not fit into the standard.
For defendants who have committed less severe crimes, they may be able to immediately post bail based on the standard table of bail amounts. On the other hand, the more severe crimes will be presented to a judge within 48 hours of the arrest to determine the appropriate bail amount. This appearance before the judge to determine bail is what is called a bail hearing.
Judges may take into consideration recommended standard bail amounts, however they will also consider whether or not the defendant has a criminal record, ties to the community, and whether or not they would pose as a threat to the public.
Primary factors that are reviewed by the judge when determining bail include severity of the crime and past criminal record. The judge will also consider whether or not the crime was committed with the use of a lethal weapon or if threats have been made against the victim or any witnesses. Another consideration is if the defendant would prove to be a risk of flight. The judge has to use his or her judgment to determine if the defendant is likely to flee the area or return for court at the scheduled day and time. Character and witness support letters may also play a role in the determination of the bail amount.
In the most severe cases where the crime has involved a minor or murder, bail may also be denied completely keeping the defendant locked in prison throughout the duration of time between the arrest and the trial.
Judges also have to be careful that they are being fair in setting a bail amount. They have to remain within certain limitations in order to protect the defendant’s constitutional right to bail.

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