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How Is The Amount Of Bail Determined?

How Is The Amount Of Bail Determined?

January 26, 2023

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, they may be eligible for bail. Bail is a sum of money that is paid to the court in order to secure the release of the accused before their trial. The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused will return to court for their trial and to provide a financial incentive for them to do so. However, the amount of bail required can vary greatly depending on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history. In this article, we will explore the factors that are considered when determining bail and how bail amounts are calculated.

Factors Considered in Bail Determination

Factors Considered in Bail Determination

There are several factors that are considered when determining bail in California. These include:

  1. The severity of the crime charged: The seriousness of the crime is a major factor in bail determination. Crimes that are considered more severe, such as murder or armed robbery, will typically result in higher bail amounts.
  2. The accused’s prior criminal record: The accused’s criminal history is also taken into consideration. If the individual has a history of failing to appear in court or has a prior conviction, they may be considered a flight risk and bail may be set higher.
  3. The accused’s ties to the community: The accused’s ties to the community such as family, employment, etc. are also considered when determining bail. If the accused has strong ties to the community, they may be considered less of a flight risk and bail may be set lower.
  4. The accused’s flight risk: The accused’s flight risk is also considered when determining bail. If the individual is considered a flight risk, bail may be set higher to ensure that they will return to court for their trial.

Bail Schedule

Bail Schedule

Many jurisdictions in California have a bail schedule in place. This is a list of bail amounts for different crimes. For example, a bail schedule may list $5,000 as the bail amount for a misdemeanor drug possession charge and $50,000 for a felony armed robbery charge. The accused can be released on bail once the bail amount has been posted or through a bail bond.

Bail Bonds

A bail bond is a contract between the accused, the bail bondsman, and the court. The accused (or a cosigner) pays a non-refundable fee, usually 10% of the total bail amount, to the bail bondsman. The bail bondsman then posts the bail on the accused’s behalf. If the accused fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman is responsible for finding and returning the defendant to the court.

Bail Hearings

Bail Hearings

In some cases, a bail hearing may be held to determine the bail amount. This is typically done when the accused is being charged with a serious crime or if the bail schedule does not cover the crime they are charged with. The judge will hear evidence from the prosecution and defense and will consider the factors listed above to determine the bail amount.

Cash Bail vs. Property Bond

Another factor to consider when determining bail is the type of bail. There are two main types of bail: cash bail and property bond. Cash bail is when the accused or a cosigner pays the bail amount in cash to the court. This money is held until the case is resolved, and if the accused appears in court as required, the money is returned. Property bond is when the accused or a cosigner puts up property, such as a house or car, as collateral for the bail. If the accused appears in court as required, the property is returned.

However, not everyone is able to afford the bail amount, and that’s where a bail bond comes in. A bail bond is a contract between the accused, the bail bondsman, and the court. The accused (or a cosigner) pays a non-refundable fee, usually 10% of the total bail amount, to the bail bondsman. The bail bondsman then posts the bail on the accused’s behalf. If the accused fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman is responsible for finding and returning the defendant to the court.

Own Recognizance

Own Recognizance

In some cases, a judge may release the accused on their own recognizance. This means that the accused is released without bail, but they are still required to appear in court. This is typically done for less serious crimes or if the accused has strong ties to the community and is not considered a flight risk.

Requesting A Bail Reduction

Think your bail amount is to high? The defendant may seek a bail reduction. This is typically done if the defendant believes that the bail amount is too high or if their financial situation has changed since the bail was set. The defendant’s defense attorney may argue for a bail reduction in court and present evidence of the defendant’s ties to the community, employment, and lack of a criminal history.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Attorneys

When facing criminal charges, it is important to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can explain the bail and court process, advise on the likelihood of a bail reduction, and provide personalized legal advice. They can also represent the defendant in a bail hearing and present evidence to the judge to argue for a lower bail amount.

California Criminal Court System

The bail process in California is governed by the California Penal Code and the California Criminal Court system. Bail is set by a judge, typically a Superior Court judge, who will consider the factors listed above in determining the bail amount. In some cases, a bail schedule may be used to determine the bail amount, but in other cases, a bail hearing may be held.

Final Thoughts on Determining Bail

In conclusion, the process of determining bail in California can be complex and can vary greatly depending on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history. It is important to understand the factors that are considered and how bail amounts are calculated in order to ensure that the accused receives a fair and just bail amount.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges and need help posting bail, do not hesitate to contact The Bail Boys bail bonds for personalized and affordable assistance in navigating the bail process.

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