Bail Hearings Explained

A bail hearing is essentially a court date involving a defendant that has been accused of a crime, their representation, a judge, and a prosecutor. The purpose of these hearings is to determine whether or not a defendant is allowed to go free on bail and, if so, for what amount. Bail money is insurance that if the defendant is allowed to wait out their trial time outside of jail that they will show up for future court dates. The bail amount is determined by several factors that vary from case to case and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you or a loved one are anticipating a bail hearing, it is essential to be as informed and prepared as possible. This article will outline what to expect from a typical bail hearing.

The Judge’s Role

First, a judge will appear and read the defendant their rights and the charges that are brought against them. The judge will listen to the defendant’s representation as well as the prosecutor to fairly determine if the defendant will go free on bail and for what amount. There are many factors that go into a judge’s bail decision, including the severity of the crime, flight risk, and the defendant’s presumed danger to society. This hearing is vital to a functioning criminal justice system in that it balances the assumption that one is innocent until proven guilty and the court system’s responsibility of keeping the community safe from potential threats. 

The Attorney’s Role

A defendant’s attorney’s role in a bail hearing is to present to the judge all of the evidence that will keep their client out of jail in between their court dates. The attorney will present evidence showing that the defendant is trustworthy, non-threatening, and intends to fully cooperate with all legal proceedings. While preparing for their bail hearing argument, the attorney will gather information about the defendant, such as criminal history, employment, finances, and ties to the community. 

The Bail Bondman’s Role

If a judge rules that a defendant is allowed to be freed on bail before their trial, the defendant must surrender a certain sum of money to the criminal justice system to guarantee their cooperation. The amount of money required for bail varies greatly in every circumstance, but it can often be significantly more than a defendant has the finances for. Bail bondsmen are a crucial lifeline for those that don’t have the money to afford their bail. If the defendant cooperates and complies with the judge’s bail conditions, they will receive their bail money back in full and only have to pay the bail bondman’s fees. 


Bail hearings serve a critical role in the criminal justice system. The judge is presented with arguments from the defendant and the prosecutor in order to determine a defendant’s fate to return to their regular life or remain in custody throughout the trial process. This can be a very confusing and stressful time for everyone involved. Educating yourself, obtaining a lawyer that you can trust, and securing a bail bondsman will make the process run much more smoothly. 

If you or a loved one are facing legal troubles and have any questions about the process and acquiring a bail bond, please call Mercy Bail Bonds at (727) 856-7775. We are more than happy to help with any of your bail bond concerns.