How Do Judges Set Bail?

Posted on: 10 December 2014

If you are arrested for a crime, you may have a bail set. This is an amount of money that must be paid to a courthouse in order to let you go home until your first hearing is set. Bail is not set for everyone, since some people are a flight-risk or have committed a violent crime. Others get bail set by a judge, which can either be paid in cash or with a bail bond. Here is more information about how judges decide if bail should be set and what amount is fair.

Where You Live Matters

It is not just up to the crime committed and other considerations the judge is looking at, but the location as well. Some places in the United States have considerably higher bail amounts than others. Large metro areas tend to have the highest bail amounts set. For example, in 2011, a Chicago man had his first bail set at $750,000 and the second at over a million dollars, both crimes of which were gang-related shootings.

What Factors the Judge Will Consider

Aside from where you live, there are a variety of things the judge looks at when they decide how much to set bail for. They do have a bail schedule to go on, which lists average bail amounts for different types of crimes and various factors, however, the judge does not have to stick to the bail schedule. Some factors the judge consider include if the general public will be safe if the person is released from prison, if they are at risk of not returning to court for their hearing, the type of crime committed, and if this person is a repeat offender. In some cases, the bail is a higher amount, in others, the judge denies bail altogether.

Bail Can be Changed

If you had a relative who was arrested and you decided not to bail them out when bail was first set, they will remain in jail until their first arraignment. This is their first appearance in front of the court. Many times, family members choose to do this because the bail amount may go down for good behavior if they are not bailed out early. Judges who see people during the first arraignment may change the bail amount, depending on certain circumstances.

The bail may be lower if during the arraignment, lack of sufficient evidence so far has proved this person committed the crime, or if they have had good behavior so far in their holding cell. On the other hand, the bail can be set higher if they become a flight risk or if they are now being charged with more severe crimes. The judge can also disallow bail at the arraignment or release them on their own recognizance. This means the judge believes they are not a risk and trust they will return for their court appearance. For more information, contact a professional like Yusef Odeh Bail Bonds.


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