Most Common Questions About Bail
If you are ever arrested, one of the first things you’ll likely think about is getting out of jail as quickly as possible. The way that most people secure their release from custody is by posting bail. This is in the form of cash, a bond or property that is given to the court. By providing bail, you are promising to appear in court. If you don’t show up to your scheduled appearance, your bail may be revoked and you will have a warrant issued for your arrest.
A judge is the person responsible for setting bail. In some instances, certain classifications of crimes have a set bail. For example, in some states, a misdemeanor of the first degree has a bail amount of $1,000. In other cases, a person must see a judge before they are able to post bail. It is often quickest to post a set bail amount and jurisdictions have these in place for the most common crimes.
If a suspect cannot afford the set bail amount, they or their attorney may ask the judge to lower it. If the person has no criminal history and the crime is relatively minor, the judge may lower the bail or release the person on a personal bond.
The U.S. Constitution protects people against excessive bail. This means that a bail cannot be used primarily to raise money for the government. It cannot be used to punish someone before they are convicted of a crime. That said, judges have still been known to set very high bails with the intent of keeping a person deemed dangerous to society in custody until they appear at a pretrial.
Conditions of Bail
Once you are released from custody on bail, there are conditions of your release. If you violate any of those conditions, you could be arrested again and returned to custody. A judge will set conditions based on the suspected crime and the person who is thought to have committed it. Typically, a condition of bail is the appearance in court, but there may be other conditions imposed, such as sobriety or where you can (and can’t) go. Failing to meet the conditions of your bail is never a wise move, so make sure you understand all that have been put in place.
Jurisdictions have rules regarding the posting of bail. You may be able to pay cash for the full amount, work with a bail bonds agent to lessen the amount you have to pay and provide a bond instead, or be released on your own recognizance. If you pay the full amount of the bail, a portion of the monies are refunded to you at the conclusion of the case.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Atlanta, you need the experience of a reputable criminal defense attorney behind you. Call Hawkins Spizman Fortas today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review your charges and speak to you so that we can offer you all available options. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm.