Bail is the process within the United States criminal justice system that permits a defendant to be released from custody. They’ll originates from the legacy of Anglo-Saxon judicial systems where defendants were delivered to overseers who gave security for their appearance in court. Bail bonds were provided by people who put up their own property as security for the bond.
In modern times few people have enough property to actually provide as full security. The court still requires the full amount of bail although obtaining it is not as nearly often done directly with property or cash. The full cash amount of bail can also present a financial hardship to the accused or their family or friends.The system now works in a quite different way from its origins in England.
The amount of bail depends on the severity of the crime alleged as having been committed by the defendant. Some jurisdictions have standardized bail amounts. Los Angeles is an example where there are such amounts such as $25,000 for perjury, $100,000 for manslaughter, etc.
Less serious crimes may allow a person to post bail immediately to avoid staying in jail for the day or two wait to see a judge. More serious crimes require the accused to see the judge and person who will decide based on several factors including criminal record and other circumstances what amount of bail to set. Bail amounts are to maintain a reasonable certainty that the accused defendant will appear at trial.
Bale can be paid in cash or check for the full amount or with property worth but full amount. More commonly a bond is secured which is a guarantee of payment of the full amount should the defendant fail to appear. Typically bail bonds cost a nonrefundable fee of around 10% of the bail amount. Further the bail bondsman may require collateral. In some cases bail is not required at all and a judge will allow a person well known in the community and unlikely to be a flight risk to appear on their own recognizance.
One spell is granted certain conditions usually apply. Some of these conditions depend on the circumstances around the alleged crime and the defendant’s personal situation. Usually bail conditions include remaining at a certain address, staying indoors at certain times of the day or night and not contacting people often involved in some way in the case, especially alleged victims.
Sometimes bail is not granted at all. High-profile crimes where the defendant or the alleged victim may be endangered upon granting of bail will result in protective custody. If the court or police have reason to believe a defendant may not appear as required then they may be deemed a flight risk and kept in custody without bail.
A bail bondsman may refuse bail in certain cases where they perceive a defendant is a high flight risk. when a defendant fails to appear in court this is known as skipping bail or jumping bail. The person providing surety will then be required to pay the entire bond to the court. In some states bounty hunters are legally allowed to pursue an capture persons who have jumped bail and failed to appear in court.
Although bail bonds agents and deal with accused criminals as a routine part of business, the bail bond business is just like any other. Professional certifications and licensing should be readily available to customers itemized charges should be explained and clear. Receipts and full documentation should be obtained by every person obtaining a bail bond. As a customer you should not purchase what you cannot afford. If you are posting bail for a friend or relative a bail bond agent should answer all questions and provide assistance. The agent also has an interest in both the well-being of a defendant and their appearance in court.
In addition to its historical roots in the English legal system the U.S. Constitution sets the basis for bail and the Judiciary act of 1789 provided that all noncapital offenses allow for bail to be provided in lieu of physical custody. In capital cases, bail is at the discretion of judges within state guidelines. Various rail reform acts have been passed with the most notable recent bail Reform Act of 1984 which replaced the bail reform act of 1966. These reform acts were intended to prevent poorer people from being incarcerated for long periods of time only to be released but their lives damaged or altered for many years.
Finding a source for bail requires attention to details on terms, conditions and qualification of the bail bond agent.