Are you familiar with how bail works?
Bail payments have been in the news quite a lot lately, but there tends to be some confusion over how they work and how the amount of bail is determined in the first place.
Do you have questions? Take a look at this quick overview of the bail process and reach out if you ever need assistance.
What is bail?
Bail is a court-determined amount of money that a defendant may pay for conditional release during the pretrial period. It is designed to incentivize defendants to comply with court proceedings, with the funds only being returned upon completion of all required court dates — even if the defendant is found guilty.
How is the amount of bail set?
Bail amounts can vary widely and are based on a few key factors, including:
- The severity of the crime
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The likelihood of a defendant fleeing, or otherwise not complying with court requirements
How do bail conditions work?
Bail conditions are the rules a defendant must follow to have their bail money returned. In addition to requiring compliance with all trial proceedings, they also usually include things like requiring the defendant to remain under house arrest or in a specified zip code, as well as requirements around who a defendant may communicate with.
Are there times when defendants are released without bail?
Yes. A person may sometimes be released “on their own recognizance.” This requires a written statement of compliance. Judges may choose this option if a defendant has no criminal history or likelihood of fleeing the area.