Bail: Getting Out of Jail After an Arrest
Bail is cash, a bond, or property that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so.
Not everyone can post the full amount of bail in cash. Other forms of bail may require less money upfront but come with other costs, such as nonrefundable premiums and collateral requirements.
Judges set bail based initially on a "bail schedule," but they can raise or lower the amount, based on the circumstances of the case.
Limits to How Much Bail the Judge Can Require
Bail should not be used to punish a defendant, or raise money for the state. Its valid use is to secure the defendant's presence at trial.
Convincing a Judge to Reduce Bail or a Bond
A defendant with strong ties to the community is not likely to flee--and may warrant a lowered bail because of it.
Bail Jumping—or Failing to Appear After Bailing Out
Forfeiting bail isn't necessarily all an absent defendant will have to deal with. Learn the consequences of failing to show up at court after bailing out.
People who have been accused of crime have a general right to bail pending trial.
Many defendants who have been arrested secure their temporary release from jail by securing a bail bond and promising to show up back in court. If a defendant fails to show up, the bail bond agent has a couple of options to avoid having to ante up the entire bail amount. One option is to use a bounty hunter to find and bring the defendant back to court.
What Is a Bail Algorithm? How Are Bail Algorithms Used?
Some U.S. jurisdictions are using advanced formulas to evaluate the risks that defendants pose. Judges weigh these evaluations when considering pretrial release.
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What Happens at a Bail Hearing?
Learn about bail schedules and how attorneys argue about bail amounts.
Is it ever wise to just stay in jail and wait for trial?
In most situations, staying in jail pending trial is not a good idea.
What is a bench warrant? Is there a difference between a bench warrant and a regular arrest warrant?
A pretrial detention hearing in federal court is much like a bail hearing in state court.
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