A lot of people are dumbstruck when they hear the judge announce the amount they will be required to pay the court to be released on bail. Even minor offences can require bail amounts exceeding the thousand dollar mark. Often, the high price of bail can force you to stay in jail while awaiting trial, or can cause you to consider turning to the services of a bail bondsman.
There are some important factors you should understand about how your bail amount is assessed.
1) Nature of the offence. Depending on the severity of your offence, the price set for bail can vary greatly. Felony charges can lead to bails exceeding tens of thousands of dollars, while misdemeanors can sometimes fall under one thousand.
2) Jurisdiction. Where you were arrested plays a significant role in how much your bail will come to. While one jurisdiction may impose heavy bail requirements, another may release an offender on their own recognizance for the same offence.
3) Criminal record. Your criminal record can go a long way to influencing the amount that is set for your bail. If you have a long criminal history, you will be more likely to incur a heftier bail (or even no bail) than someone with a spotless record. Often, courts will allow a first offender off with a light bail.
4) Ties to the community. If you can demonstrate to the court that you have strong ties to your community, judges will often be less likely to consider you a flight risk. This can help you receive a lesser bail amount, or even be released on your own recognizance. Some of the most common ways to demonstrate a strong tie to the community include steady employment or whether you have strong family ties, especially if you are in charge of providing care for a child or family member. By displaying your standing in the community, you increase the possibility of a lighter bail requirement.
5) Having an attorney present. One of the best ways of reducing your bail requirement is to have an attorney present at your bail hearing. An attorney can help you present your case to the judge, and is your best option for successfully negotiating a reduced bail amount. Trying to represent yourself at a bail hearing can have a negative impact on your bail amount. Unless you know the right things to say, and how to present your argument before the court, you may wind up paying much more if you don’t have a lawyer during your bail hearing. If you do choose to represent yourself, you will want to try to persuade the judge of your ties to the community, as discussed in the above section.
Remember that if your bail amount is higher than you can afford, you always have the option of turning to a bail bondsman. Receiving a bail bond in Brazoria County is a good way to avoid spending unnecessary time in jail as you await trial. If you find yourself in this situation, call the professionals at Brazoria County Bail Bonds to discuss your options.