Bail is money or a bond paid to the court to secure a defendant's release from custody. Bail ensures that when the defendant is released, they will appear in court for their trial. If the defendant fails to attend a trial, the court keeps the money or bond and issues an order for the defendant to be arrested.
Since many defendants cannot raise the full amount of bail, they turn to bail bonds services. Before you consult a bail bondsman, you should understand how bail is determined.
In many jurisdictions, courts use bail algorithms to set an amount for bail. The algorithm takes into account basic information about the accused. The judge refers to the results of the algorithm before setting an amount for bail.
A bail algorithm considers several factors to produce a score for or against releasing a defendant. For example, one bail tool will give scores for the defendant's risk of failing to attend their trial and breaking the law. Some other factors that bail algorithms consider include the defendant's criminal history, age, and current charges.
The court may rely on a bail schedule when setting a bail amount. A bail schedule lists bail amount recommendations for different charges. The judge may choose to refer to this schedule when setting bail. However, the judge may also deviate from these guidelines by either reducing or increasing the bail amount. In some cases, the judge could even grant you a release on their own recognizance. This means they will not demand any bail.
In some states, defendants post bail with the police. The police will demand for bail based on the defendant's alleged offense. The difference between police bail schedules and those used in court is that the judge has the discretion to deviate from the schedule's recommendations.
The police arrest suspects for serious criminal charges that they can support using evidence at their disposal. For example, if you are found in possession of a small amount of marijuana, this is considered a misdemeanor. However, the police may treat this offense as possession with the intent to sell, which is a felony.
Though the court may later reduce this charge to a misdemeanor, it will be treated as a felony when setting bail. Therefore, the court will rely on the bail schedule for felonies when setting your bail amount.
If you have been charged with a felony, you are probably anxious because you don't know whether the judge will release you on bail. If your request for bail succeeds and you have insufficient funds at your disposal, your best alternative is to consult a bail bondsman. Contact a bail bonds agency for more information.