There are many factors that help determine the amount of bail a defendant may have to pay. With the ease of the internet, you can find sources that will give you multiple factors that go into setting bail amounts. Let’s explore some of the main factors that are used in this process.
Nature or Severity of Crime
Depending upon the crime that has been committed, the bail amount will be set according to these standards. Typically a misdemeanor will be a lesser bail, and a felony will have a higher bail that will be set. In some instances, like murder or ties to organized crime, bail can be denied and the defendant will have to remain behind bars till their court date.
When the courts are looking at the amount of bail that should be set, they will take into account any past criminal records. If the defendant has a history of criminal action, or has a current charge against them, this could lessen the likelihood of receiving a lower bail amount, or bail being set at all. Repeated offenses of the same crime can deter a judge from setting a lower bail.
Employment and/or Financial Situation
A judge will take into consideration a defendant’s employment situation and/or financial status when setting the bail amount. Those that have a stable job, dependents and financial responsibility are more likely to make their court appearances than those that are unemployed and have high amounts of debt. If this is a first offense for a defendant, these factors carry a little more weight.
A major consideration for a judge is the defendant’s risk of flight. People will do whatever it takes to not spend any time in jail. If the judge feels that the defendant’s crime, their social and economic status, criminal record and danger to the community will cause them to flee prior to their court date, the judge will either set a really high bail amount or could deny bail altogether.
Danger to Community
Defendants that have been accused of violent and serious crimes will more than likely be denied bail. This is because the courts feel that they are a danger to the community. For example, if a defendant is accused of a sexual crime or murder, this can result in an extremely high bail amount or being held without bail. If the courts feel that releasing a defendant on bail would endanger the community in which they live, they are more apt to follow this standard.
Strength of Case
Depending upon the evidence that is collected in the case, this can determine how high the bail will be set. If there is overwhelming evidence that will convict a defendant, the judge is less likely to grant bail. This is due to the fact that there is a flight risk and the defendant could skip out on the court appearance. If evidence is in favor of the defendant, bail will be granted in most cases.
Although this list is not comprehensive, these are a few of the major factors that are considered when bail is being set by the court system.