Variables Affecting Bail

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If you or a loved one are facing a bail hearing, it can be difficult to anticipate whether the judge will grant bail, and if bail is granted, whether the amount will be reasonable. There are several variables affecting the outcome of a bail hearing.

Criminal Complaint

The most influential variable affecting bail will be the criminal complaint, which are the charges the accused is facing. Charges that are particularly violent and pose a safety risk to the public are less likely to receive bail. In the rare instance someone is charged with a particularly violent crime and receives bail, the bail is generally accessed at millions of dollars, which few people can afford to pay. Crimes of violence that are not especially egregious, such as simple assault, may still receive no bail or a high bail if the judge believes there is a reasonable risk the accused might target a particular victim or is a menace to the community and may continue to commit acts of violence while out on bail.

Criminal History

Simple, non-violent offenses are likely to receive bail, but if the accused is frequently in trouble with the law, even the simplest of offenses may warrant their ongoing incarceration until trial. For example, some people have a lengthy record of drug, prostitution, or theft charges, and although the person is not violent, the court may anticipate the accused will commit similar crimes if they are out until trial. More localities are moving toward a zero-bail system as part of bail reform for certain offenses and situations. This is used to level the playing field between people with fewer resources and those with more resources who are charged with similar offenses. People charged with simple crimes do not have to spend months incarcerated simply because they cannot afford low bail amounts.

Flight Risk

How likely a person is to flee while out also affects whether or not they receive bail and the amount charged. People who have already served time incarcerated may be viewed as more likely to flee since they are probably afraid they might return to prison. The resources available to flee are also a factor. People with money and extensive networks of family or friends, especially in other states or countries, are more likely to have the resources available to flee and stay hidden for a while. In some instances, people who are considered a flight risk and are given bail might have additional stipulations. They might be required to turn over their passport, which makes it harder for them to leave the country, and they might be required to have an ankle monitor until the case concludes.

Many variables are taken into account during a bail hearing to determine whether the accused will receive bail and the amount of the bail. People accused of non-violent crimes who pose little to no risk of danger to the community are the most likely to receive affordable bail.

For more information, reach out to a bail bonds service near you.