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How a Judge Determines Your Bail

You walk into the courtroom alongside your lawyer. The judge asks for your plea, and you enter it. Your lawyer argues for your bail to be set at a reasonable amount. The prosecution recommends a much higher amount and suggest several intense restrictions for conditions of your release on bail. The judge hears both arguments, sets bail, and bangs the gavel. Unfortunately, the number that left your judge’s mouth seems astronomically high to you. How could anyone be expected to pay that amount, just to be released on bail? To answer that often-asked question, we’ve outlined the top five factors the judge uses to determine your bail.

1.) The Nature of the Crime

If the crime you’re being charged with is serious, it’s likely your bail will be very high. The bail for a felony charge is almost always more than bail for a misdemeanor charge. More serious crimes like violent offenses, high-value thefts, and drug trafficking charges put judges on alert that the accused could be a danger to the community. As a result, judges tend to set higher bail amounts and impose restrictions about what you can do once you’re released on bail.

2.) Your Past Criminal History

On the day of your arraignment, you may notice the judge sets bail at a much lower amount for someone charged with the same crime as you. While this might be aggravating to witness, it’s probable that that person didn’t have a criminal history–and you do. One of the most important factors a judge considers is your past criminal history. If this is your first brush with the law, a judge will recognize that you’ve made a mistake and wish to correct your behavior. If you’ve had repeat offenses, your judge might throw the book at you. The more extensive your criminal history is, the harsher your bail terms may be.

3.) The Potential to Flee

During your arraignment or bail hearing, make sure your lawyer emphasizes the various contacts you have within your community. The more friends, family members, and community leaders that appear on your behalf, the greater the chance you have of being released on bail. Judges understand that people accused of crimes are less likely to flee the state or the country if they have strong ties to their community. However, judges are less likely to grant bail to someone with apparent ties to family and friends in other countries. Judges may interpret these international ties as your being a potential flight risk and, as a result, deny bail.

4.) The Risk You Pose to Public Safety

The risk you pose to public safety is the single most important factor a judge considers when bail is set. A judge’s role is to fundamentally protect public safety. If a judge has even the slightest suspicion that your release could result in any kind of threat to others, including witnesses in the case, there’s a good chance your bail will be denied. If you or a loved one has been arrested, hire Absolute Bail Bonds today. We will quickly cover the remainder of your bond, pick you up from jail, and bring you home so that you can start preparing your defense with your lawyer.