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How Bail Works

When an individual is arrested and completes the booking process, they will either have to post bond or wait in custody until the trial date. Trials are often set weeks or months from the date of arrest and should not be confused with the first appearance hearing. The purpose of a bail determination in criminal proceedings is to ensure the appearance of the defendant at all court dates and to protect the community against unreasonable danger from the defendant.

When determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, and what that bail or those conditions might be, the court considers:

1. The nature and circumstances of the offense charged.
2. The weight of evidence against the defendant.
3. The defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, financial resources, and mental condition.
4. The defendant’s past and present conduct, including any record of convictions, previous flight to avoid prosecution, or failure to appear at court proceedings.
5. The nature and probability of danger which the defendant’s release poses to the community.
6. The source of funds used to post bail or procure an appearance bond (surety bond), particularly whether the funds, real property, property, or any proposed collateral or bond premium may be linked to or derived from the crime alleged to have been committed or from any other criminal or illicit activities.
7. Whether the defendant is already on release pending resolution of another criminal proceeding or on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of a sentence.
8. The street value of any drug or controlled substance connected to or involved in the criminal charge.
9. The nature and probability of intimidation and danger to victims.
10. Whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release.
11. Any other facts that the court considers relevant.

Bail can be posted in two ways:

1. The full amount of the bond is posted by the defendant or on behalf of the defendant in what is called a cash bond. If the defendant attends all court dates, the depositor of the cash bond will receive their money back, less any court costs, court fees, fines, and other monetary penalties.

2. A
surety bond is purchased through a bail bondsman. The purchaser pays a set fee to a bail bondsman who in turn presents the court with the bond. As long as the defendant makes all the required court appearances, no further monies are paid to the bail bondsman/

If the defendant skips bail and doesn’t appear at a court date, the bail will be surrendered. In the event that a defendant’s bail is paid through a bail bondsman, the bail bond agent has the authority to locate and apprehend the defendant and surrender them to the court.