When a person is arrested, they are taken to jail, but not necessarily to stay there indefinitely. Police and judges can set a bail amount that allows suspects to exit jail on the grounds of agreeing to come back. The official definition of bail is:
"the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, with a conditional fee to guarantee later court appearance"
The bail can either be set at a special bail hearing, arraignment, or by the bail schedule, a list of common crimes and dollar amount set according to local and state official standards that are inflexible.
How do judges choose bail amount?
The major factor that influences the amount of bail is the seriousness of a crime. Generally speaking, a felony bail is set five to ten times higher than a misdemeanor. Other considerations judges make include the suspect's criminal record, employment status, and presence of relatives in the area or community ties.
In some cases, criminals can be denied bail altogether. This usually applies to suspects who have a dangerous criminal record, have a warrant prior to the arrest, or seem likely to flee the area before an official court date is set.
The Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution states that bail may not be set at excessive rates in order to raise additional government funds or punish a criminal. In theory, bail is nothing more than an agreement to return to court. There are exceptions to this law that judges consider. In some situations, judges are free to deny or set bail at excessive rates in order to keep dangerous, yet powerful, criminals detained until an official hearing.
If you or someone you know has recently been arrested and is interested in appealing their bail, contact Kyle Law Firm in the San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Seguin area for a free consultation. There are exceptions that can be considered to set the bail at a more reasonable rate if a criminal defense lawyer is present.