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What do you know about how judges set bail?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2020 | Criminal Law |

After a recent run-in with Mississippi law enforcement, police detained you until your trial. The judge set your bail, and you may wonder how she or he chose that specific amount. 

The American Bar Association explores the factors that affect bail amount. While building your case, use the basis of your bail amount to learn more about how much of a fight you may face in court. 

Understanding bail

One of the most essential facts about bail is that rather than a punishment, it is insurance to ensure that defendants attend all pretrial hearings and their trial. Once the trial ends, you receive your bail amount back, minus any mandatory processing fees. 

Breaking down bail factors

When magistrates and judges set bail, they consider the crime the defendant allegedly committed, whether the defendant represents a flight risk and the local community’s safety. Another factor is how dangerous the defendant is. Bail may come with extra conditions. For instance, if the defendant faces accusations of domestic violence, she or he may have to cease contact with the alleged victim. 

Receiving special consideration

Sometimes, judges release those accused from custody without paying bail, referred to as “on the defendant’s own recognizance.” Under those circumstances, the person must commit to appear in court for all hearings and trial. Those who contribute to their community, have a job or otherwise show themselves to be of little to no flight risk may qualify for this option. 

Missing bail

Those who cannot afford to pay their bail may have to work with a bail bondsperson to come up with the full bail amount. Paying bail through a bail bondsperson requires the defendant to put up at least 10% of the full amount. Depending on the jurisdiction, paying 10% of bail may be sufficient to grant the person release.