The Reasons Behind Your Bail Amount
You’re waiting in line for your bail hearing. You hear the Judge dolling out bail in the case of yours. The person ahead of you has his bail set at $2,000. “Ok,” you’re thinking, “that’s not so bad. Maybe this Judge is nice! Maybe my bail will only be a few thousand dollars”. A few minutes later you hear the same Judge set our bail at $10,000.
You might be wondering what you did wrong. What’s so different between you and the person whose case was before yours, the one that only has to pay $2,000 for bail. Did he have a nicer smile than you? Did that defendant and the Judge bond over something, like supporting the same football team or going to the same high school? Why is your bail so different from that guy’s? He didn’t seem so great!
The truth of the matter is that people can have their bail set at drastically different prices, but not based on superficial reasons. A Judge takes the whole situation into consideration before determining bail. This is why even for two people who are charged with the same crime, bail can be very different.
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What Does a Judge Consider When Setting Bail?
- One of the biggest things that a Judge uses to determine what your bail is set at is the severity of your charge. Are you charged with a minor crime, such as a traffic infraction or other misdemeanor? Or are you charged with a felony? Are you charged with a violent crime? If you are charged with a minor infraction, bail will probably be set relatively low for you. If you are charged with a more serious crime, bail can be much higher or revoked altogether. In some cases, a Judge will not grant bail at all if the crime is serious or violent.
- In addition, a Judge will consider your history. Is this your first arrest, or have you passed through the system multiple times? Have you had bail set in the past that you were unable to pay? Were you released from bail in the past, only to fail to appear in court for your court date, or to violate the conditions of your release? All of these factors can play a part in how your bail is set and if you have any restrictions on you during your release from the custody of the court.
Bail is set differently because every person is different. Every person has different circumstances – different criminal histories, different circumstances surrounding their arrests, different financial standings. All of these factors can influence how bail is set. If you find that you cannot afford bail yourself, you should seriously consider hiring a bail bondsman to post a bond for you. This is in your best interest if you want to be released from custody while your case is pending.