3 Factors A Judge Considers When Setting Bail Amount

After the police charge you with a crime, you need to attend all court proceedings. During the first court appearance, the judge decides whether you'll serve jail time or be out on bail.

If the judge grants you bail, you remain free until your trial. You could continue with your normal life as you wait for the court's verdict. But what factors actually determine your bail amount? Discover three factors a judge might consider when they set bail.

Criminal Record

When you appear in court for your bail hearing, the judge will first look at your criminal record to determine your bail amount.

The judge may set a high bail amount if you have a long criminal record. Also, the nature of your past crimes and whether or not you were convicted will influence the judge's decision. You may also pay a high bail amount if you ever committed a crime while on parole for a previous crime.

Conversely, you could pay a lower amount if you are a first-time offender or if you're accused of a minor offense such as trespassing.

Bail Schedules

Once the police arrest you, they will enter your information into the system. The system will include details about your age, nature of your crime, and criminal record. The system will then determine the amount of bail you should pay—even without going to court. If you don't agree with the amount set by the bail schedules, you need to appear in court for the judge to determine your bail amount.

After the judge has set a bail amount, you need to pay that money to earn your freedom. However, if you cannot come up with the full amount, you can seek help from a reputable bail bondsman. These agents will help you post bail but at a cost.

Court History

Judges subject past offenders to extra scrutiny. They will check whether they attended their set court dates. If you have a history of failing to show up in court, the judge could set a higher bail amount. Other times, instead of increasing your bail amount, the judge could deny you bail altogether.

Remember that if you fail to appear for your court hearings after posting bail, you risk possible jail time. The court may issue a warrant for your arrest, and you could lose your freedom. In addition, your bond could be forfeited and you'd lose the collateral you used to secure bail. Your bail bonds agency could discuss these terms with you if you need help posting bail.  

Contact a bail bondsman for more information. 

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Last summer, my family struggled to stay cool during the summer. We seemed to be trapped inside because when we left the air conditioned comfort of the indoors, we were immediately uncomfortable. I promised my kids that this year would be better because I was going to find the money to buy a pool for our yard. I have spent months looking into my different financing options to find out what would be the most affordable monthly option without costing me the most over the duration of the loan. Go to my blog to learn what type of loans I had considered and the pros and cons of each.