The Accused: Saved by the Bail!
Bail is the amount of money set by the court to a criminal defendant before he/she can be released from custody/detention. Its purpose is to assure the court that the accused will attend the succeeding trial proceedings until he/she was declared guilty or innocent. It is usually given on the first court appearance of the defendant, and will be returned to the accused once the court have come up with a decision.
Why post bail?
Aside from being released, another reason why some defendants post bail is because they want to function normally (do their usual routine, be with their families, stay at their own homes, etc.) until the court has come up with a verdict. (Source: Your Legal Guide) After all, the defendant remains innocent unless proven guilty.
Granting of Bail
Anyone can be released on bail as long as the case is “bailable”. Bailable cases are usually minor violations. If it’s non-bailable, it is a more serious violation and the defendant would need to appeal for grant. The court will decide whether they will grant the bail or not based on certain factors: the probability that the defendant will escape, his/her character, history, etc. (Source: Legal Dictionary)
Determining the Amount of Bail
The amount of bail usually depends on the type of crime committed. For some cases, courts release bail schedules that contain a standard bail amount. However, if the court said that they still have to consider certain things before posting bail for a specific case, then the amount of bail will be set by the judge at the first court appearance of the accused.
If the person charged committed only minor violations, the court (or the detention center) would usually allow him to post bail, especially if his/her case falls under the standard categories. For instance, here is the standard bail schedule in Clark County, Nevada:
- Felonies – $5,000 to $20,000
- Gross Misdemeanors – $2,000
- Misdemeanors – $2,000 to $5000
- Violations of Protection Order – $15,000
(Source: Clark County Courts)
Note: There are non-bailable felony cases.
Factors that affect the amount of bail
There are some cases where the court decides the specific amount of bail. Of course, the court’s decision is usually influenced by certain factors. Here are some of them:
- Gravity of crime
- Previous criminal records
- Financial status of the defendant
- The defendant’s close ties to the community (did he/she grew up here, are there any family members or relatives within the area, etc.)
- The probability of the defendant from fleeing
As mentioned earlier, these factors can also be used as basis for denying someone the right to bail.
Related Blog:Definition of a few common criminal terms