If your loved one was recently arrested, or if you’re new to the
criminal process, you may be wondering how judges set bail, and it’s
understandable why. Ordinarily, judges will set bail at a suspect’s
first court appearance following their arrest, which happens at the arraignment
or the bail hearing.
Generally, judges adhere to a standard procedure, for example, setting
a bail amount of $500 for a nonviolent and minor misdemeanor. However,
bail is at the judge’s discretion.
A judge has every right to lower or raise the standard bail amount, or
even waive bail altogether and release a defendant on their “own
recognizance” based on the circumstances of the case.
Defendants have various options for posting bail, including:
- They can personally post cash bail
- They can call on a bail bondsman
- A friend or family member can post cash bail
- A friend or family member can purchase a bond from a bail bondsman
What factors influence bond amounts?
The amount of bail depends on a variety of factors, such as: 1) the seriousness
of the crime, 2) the defendant’s criminal history, 3) whether the
defendant is employed, 4) if the defendant has close ties to the community,
5) if the defendant poses a risk to public safety, and 6) if the defendant
is perceived as a flight risk.
In some circumstances, for example, when the defendant is perceived to
be highly dangerous, or when another jurisdiction has issued a warrant
for the person’s arrest, a judge may decide to deny bail altogether.
A judge may also deny bail when they believe the defendant might flee.
Some Areas Have Bail Schedules
Many jails in the United States have what are called posted bail schedules,
which establish bail amounts for common crimes. In those cases, an arrested
defendant would pay the amount set forth in the posted bail schedule and
would be released immediately after booking.
Bail schedules are not the same across the boards. They can vary significantly
based on the type of crime and the locality. As a general rule, the bail
for felonies is between 5 and 10 times higher than it is for misdemeanors.
Essentially, the more serious the crime, the higher the bail amount is
going to be.
Facing criminal charges? Our
Richmond criminal attorney can help. Contact Carlson & Collier 24/7 for the trusted legal support
Call now to schedule a free consultation.