How Does Bail Work?

By December 8, 2014Criminal Defense
las vegas criminal defense attorneys

When a person is arrested and put into jail, the first thing he or she (the defendant) wants to do is find a way out. Depending on the severity of the crime, the defendant may be able to pay bail and get out. Bail is a payment (either cash, bond, or valuable property) that ensures the court that the arrested person will show up to court when ordered to do so. If the defendant appears in court and other mandated hearings, the defendant will be reimbursed for the bail payment.

When a person is put in jail, a judge will be responsible for setting a bail amount. However, jails have standard bail amounts set for common crimes. If the defendant has the money available, he or she can pay the bail and be released.

But what if the bail is more than the defendant has available? In the United States Constitution, the Eighth Amendment states that bail cannot be excessive. The purpose of bail is not to profit the government, but to ensure that a defendant will appear in court. However, there are certain circumstances where a judge will set bail higher – this is decided by a judge at his or her discretion, depending on the crime. For instance, a judge might set a higher bail if the individual committed a crime that makes him or her dangerous or if the individual is considered a flight-risk (meaning they would try to leave the country).

Bail is put in place so that defendants will appear in court when they are ordered to do so. However, there are conditions that come along with being released on bail. In most cases, the released defendant must obey all laws. In certain circumstances, the conditions of bail reflect directly on the original crime that the defendant allegedly committed. For instance, if an individual was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the defendant may be prohibited from using drugs or alcohol.

How to Pay Bail

In many cases, defendants do not have adequate funds readily available to pay bail quickly. If this is the case, the defendant can use a bond. Bond sellers are available, however the defendant will usually have to pay a fee and offer collateral. What this means is that the defendant must give the bond seller some type of financial interest in the defendant’s valuable property. If the defendant fails to show up to court, the bond seller can cash in on the valuable property that was used as collateral.

Being Released for Free

In some situations, a defendant may be able to get out of jail without paying bail. This is called being released “on their own recognizance,” or “O.R.” In order for this to happen, the defendant must not be considered dangerous, a flight risk, and has strong ties to his or her community. If the judge grants O.R., the defendant must sign a waiver that states he or she will appear in court when summoned.

The common factors that typically determine whether a defendant will be granted O.R., include:

  • Being employed
  • Has family living in the community
  • Has resided in the community long-term
  • Has no criminal record or a minor criminal record
  • Has criminal record but has a history of appearing in court when ordered to do so

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested, contact Bighorn Law. It is absolutely necessary to have legal representation in criminal defense cases, no matter how minor the crime. The attorneys at Bighorn Law know how to stand up for you in court and will work to get you released from jail. Call Bighorn Law now.

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