When you have to bail yourself or someone else out of jail, it’s important to understand how the system works. For many people, this is unfamiliar territory and some aspects may seem somewhat arbitrary. Consider, for example, the amount of bail for a particular defendant or crime. While this aspect may seem like it was pulled from thin air, bail amounts actually have a logical process.
That process generally involves a few key factors. Here is a short guide to these.
Many crimes are somewhat routine within the court system. For these charges, a standard bail amount is often instituted so that there is no need to see a judge at this point in the process. You are often able to see a schedule of such amounts posted online. Tennessee uses some set schedules for certain types of charges, making release on bail go faster.
Felonies and Misdemeanors
The type of crime you are charged with — either a less-serious misdemeanor or a more serious felony — also affects how much bail will be mandated. Felonies routinely carry significantly higher bail amounts — sometimes as much as ten times the misdemeanor amount. Many times, the amount added by a felony versus a misdemeanor are also based on defined schedules.
Generally, the police authorities themselves are not able to alter a standard bail set by the State. If you have extenuating circumstances and want to seek a lower bail rate than is posted, you likely need to seek a hearing through the court system. Judges are generally authorized to determine changes in bail — either higher or lower — according to unique situations.
Specific details about the charges you are accused of may call for particular changes to the bail that would normally be set. This may be referred to as non-standard bail. In some states, for instance, a crime that would normally have a standard bail of $1,000 may carry a higher bail amount if it was committed with a deadly weapon. And a very serious charge such as murder may not be allowed bail at all.
One of the most common factors that a judge would consider is your history. If you have not been charged or convicted of other crimes in the past, you are more likely not to be considered a serious offender. If, on the other hand, this is not your first DUI charge, the judge may feel that your bail should be higher this time. If your state uses algorithms to determine some bail amounts, your history is a key component.
Bail is a system designed to ensure that a defendant shows up for their court process without having to actually detain them in jail. This is where strong ties to the community come into play.
If you were born and raised in the local area, work a full-time job, your friends and family are in the same region, and someone can vouch for you, a defendant is often considered less of a risk to attempt to flee from court appearances. If your family is all overseas and you have few active ties to people or places in the local community, bail might be set higher to discourage any rash moves.
The more you understand how bail is assigned, the better you can navigate this part of the legal system. By knowing the importance of stressing deep community links, for instance, you might be able to get a reduced bail amount that puts less pressure on you and your family right now.
To get answers to bail questions in your specific situation, call the professionals at Affordable Bail Bonds today.