If you find yourself in trouble with the law for the first time, you may encounter some new vocabulary. The terms “bail” and “bond” are often used seemingly interchangeably. While they both serve the purpose of allowing an arrested individual freedom until the next court appearance, they are significantly different. You need a trusted defense attorney to see you through our complex legal system.
What is the difference between bail and bond?
Judges set bail to provide the suspect the opportunity to be free until his court appearance. In our legal system, we are all innocent until we are proven guilty. A bail is a type of security that is paid in exchange for the release of an arrested person, with the understanding that the suspect will return for his court appearance. Bail is paid in cash or pledged to a court. Most courts adhere to a “bail schedule” that specifies the standard bail amount for common crimes. If a suspect or relatives cannot afford bail, he may ask the court to reduce the amount.
A bond is paid by a third party bondsman who agrees to pay the debt in the event that the suspect or a family member cannot afford the full cost of bail. The bail bondsman receives 10% of the bail amount up front. He keeps this amount whether or not the defendant appears in court. To get the bond, the defendant must put up collateral such as a house or car in addition to the 10% fee. The bondsman then pays the court a part of the total bail. If the defendant does not show to court the bondsman pays the entire cost of bail and has to then send a team to track him down.
When is bail set?
Judges set bail upon the defendant’s arrest or during the first court appearance or the “arraignment.” Typically, a judge will follow the bail schedule but depending on the circumstances of the case, the judge may reduce the cost of bail or forgo bail altogether. A judge may do this for a first time offender who has not committed a violent crime. This is called releasing the defendant on his own “recognizance.” Defendants with several previous arrests may face higher bail charges or be denied bail altogether.
Why would bail be denied?
The courts take several factors into consideration when deciding bail. There are many reasons why a judge may deny the ability to post bail. Above all, a judge determines the probability that the defendant will return for his next day in court.
Key influencing factors include:
- The severity of the crime. Higher probability bail will be denied for violent crimes.
- The defendant’s attitude at his arraignment or bond hearing.
- Whether or not the defendant is a foreign resident. Is it likely that the defendant will leave the jurisdiction? If so, bail may be denied.
- Whether the defendant has a history of missing court dates.
- Statements made by law enforcement personnel regarding the details of the case.
- A defendant’s criminal record. Does the defendant have a history of crime?
A defendant with a high risk of fleeing the justice system will not be allowed to post bail. Additionally, the more serious the offense, the more likely it is that bail will be denied or set to an unreasonably high amount. Judges who decide to deny bail generally have valid reasons to do so, but a defendant’s attitude at the bail hearing and his attorney’s arguments influence the outcome of the proceeding.
Preparing for Court with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
There are many reasons a judge can deny to post bail or bond. If you are finding yourself on the wrong side of the law, you need a strong criminal defense attorney to represent your case. With the legal counsel of attorney Brian Gabriel, you can be sure that you will be thoroughly prepared for your day in court as he has over 30 years of experience doing just that each and every day. The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel strives to seek justice for the criminally accused in West Palm Beach. A qualified defense lawyer like Brian Gabriel may be able to work with you to reduce your bail. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.