Why We Have a Bail System

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, they are brought to a hearing where a judge looks at the details of the case such as the manner and seriousness of the crime, and considers details about the accused like criminal history and the likelihood that they would flee.  They consult with a bail schedule (bail guidelines) and set bail.

When money bail was first introduced in medieval England, it was meant to be a way to ensure disputes between people were settled in a fair way.  If the defendant skipped town, the plaintiff would get their fair share. No money was initially required, merely proof that the family of the defendant could pay the plaintiff what is owed to them if the defendant didn’t show up to settle the dispute.

The Industrial Revolution led to easier travel and as people began to relocate, it became more difficult to find family members obliged to pay the bail.  This led to the requirement that cash bail be paid up front before the defendant could be released from jail. Because bail is designed as an incentive for a defendant to show up for court, it has to be set high enough to serve that purpose.  If bail as $25, there would be little reason for many to bother to show up.

Around the turn of the 20th Century, bail bonds were introduced as a way to allow more people to be released from jail while they await their trial.  The defendant and/or family would still be on the hook for the full amount of bail that was set but they’d only have to come up with a smaller amount up front.  

Why Bail Is Good

  1. 1.  The defendant can remain employed.  Few employers would keep someone on their payroll who had been arrested and were going to spend months in jail.  Posting bond allows the defendant to remain a productive worker instead of sitting in prison, and may help them pay for their defense if they don’t qualify for a court-appointed public defender.  The bail bond system works quickly and the defendant may not miss a single day of work. 
  2. 2.  The defendant can prepare for court.  Being out on bail gives the defendant time to work on their case by hiring a lawyer, and collecting the information needed for the case in order to fight the charges in court. 
  3. 3.  The defendant can care for family.  If the defendant has children, a spouse, or aging parents, being out on bail allows them to remain at home where they’re needed.  It allows them to be there for the people they love.

Obviously, not all crimes are equal.  For some, bail is denied due to their severity, but others, like many misdemeanors, most likely would result in little or no jail time.  Having a bail system allows for that person to avoid going to jail.

If you’re in need of a bail bondsman, call Mercy Bail Bonds today at (727) 856-7775.  Our staff is available 24/7 to take your call and get you out of jail fast. Call today and let us help.