With pretrial detention costing taxpayers billions each year, posting bail has proven to be effective for people looking to get out of jail. Bail is one of the things that might keep you or your loved one out of prison when facing charges. After the arrest, you will be given a bond amount that you should pay for the person to be freed.
Bond can be costly, and you may not have enough cash available. But how are bail amounts determined, and can they give you the money you need?
It’s important to understand the bail process carefully and the companies involved. With all the chaos brought by the arrest, finding some money to bail out your loved one can be daunting. Learn more about bail amounts in this guide:
Bail Process Overview
Judges rely on bail to ensure that the defendant will appear in court and not flee the country. After an arrest, you will be arraigned before a judge for your bail amount to be determined.
There’s a possibility of the judge denying or granting you bail. The probability depends on the nature of the alleged crime and your arrest record. If you face serious charges and have an extensive arrest record, it can be difficult to get bail.
Once the bail is set, you will be given a chance to post the amount by yourself. You may also ask a bail bond firm or a family member to do it for you. When out on bail, you will have to wait for the next arraignment date of your case.
Understanding Types of Bail and Bail Schedules
Not all types of bail in North Carolina require you to pay a certain amount of money. The magistrate may give you a written promise to appear. The written promise legally obliges you to attend all future hearings for your case to be heard.
With an unsecured bond, the magistrate will set the bond amount, but you won’t have to pay it for your release. You risk having a money judgment for the bond amount entered against you if you fail to appear in court.
The magistrate may also grant you a secured bond, which allows you to pay a certain lump sum through a bail bond company. The bond may also be secured with collateral such as real estate. If the magistrate grants you a cash bond, you will have to pay it in cash.
A bail schedule lists bail amount recommendations for different charges. A bails bonds company will only post the bond on your behalf if you pay a 15 percent premium. If you fail to make a court appearance, your co-signer will be 100% liable to the bail bondsman.
When is Bail Set?
Expect the judge to set your bail amount during your first court appearance after getting arrested. The first court appearance can be an arraignment or a bail hearing.
Standard practices are observed when bail is being set. The judge may lower or raise or waive the bail altogether. They may also grant you release on your own recognizance.
How Are Bail Amounts Determined?
The bail amount usually reflects the charges you are facing and your criminal record. The judge will also look at your personal status and community ties when setting this amount. Here’s a brief breakdown of these factors:
1. Nature of the Alleged Offense
Bail amounts differ with the type of charges you’re facing under state or federal laws. Minor crimes tend to have lower bail amounts compared to more serious ones. The chances of getting denied bail are higher for severe crimes.
2. Personal Status and Past Criminal history
Your personal wealth and employment status may help the judge decide the bail amount. You may be considered less of a risk of skipping court hearings if you have a stable occupation and dependents.
The court may grant you a bail of a lower amount if you have no criminal record. Defendants with lengthy criminal records risk getting a high bail amount or being denied the bond. It’s also possible to be denied bail if you are on parole or have outstanding out-of-state warrants.
3. Past Court Appearances
Having a history of missing court dates may make matters worse for your case. The judge may set a high bail amount or deny you bail to make you appear for future hearings. Skipping court appearances is an offense that courts don’t take lightly.
You risk losing your bail bond if you fail to show up to court on the given dates. Your property bond will be forfeited, and you may not get a refund for any cash bond paid. The court will give out an arrest warrant to get you back in jail if you have a long history of skipping court dates.
4. Community Ties and Threat to the Public
Your ability to coexist with others in your community can affect the bail process. Strong community ties and a remarkable reputation will make you less likely to flee the country or skip bail. The court may offer you a low bail amount if you are actively involved in the community.
Judges also look at your flight risk and threat to the public, witnesses, and victims. They may grant you a high amount or deny you one if they feel that you are a threat to public safety.
The threat will be based on the type of charges you’re facing. Defendants charged with serious crimes are likely to have difficulties coexisting with other people. There’s a risk of being miscommunicated from the community too.
Looking for a Bails Bond Service for You or Your Loved One?
While an arrest can be devastating, its effects can be life-changing if you fail to get bail. You wouldn’t want yourself or your loved one to spend even a single night in detention after being arrested. If you can’t raise the amount, you can always turn to a third party for help.
Count on Charlotte Bail Bonds for affordable bail bond services in Charlotte, NC. We hope this guide answered any questions you had on how are bail amounts determined. Reach out to us for help on different types of bonds for immediate release out of police custody.