123 Bail Bonding

How Does Bail Work?

Legal terms and proceedings are hardly known by a majority of common people. A common question is, “how does bail work.”

However, legal proceedings are often observed through cinematic representations where you might often come across the term “bail bond” and observe a person who is supposedly suspected to have been exempted from custody while his trials are still due.

It might be tedious and confusing when you’re trying to figure out how a bail works from the portrayals in the movies. So here’s a simplified yet detailed piece that guides you with a complete understanding of the procedures and operative of a bail.

What is Bail?

If you’re not aware about what actually a bail refers to, then this bit of information is highly crucial for you to understand how a bail works. After you are taken into legal custody, you would have to conform to jail until the court provides a date for your trial. Bail is simply your “collateral” provided to the authority that helps you achieve considerable freedom during the interim period before your trial. The “collateral” in these circumstances are financial deposits to the court that pledges for your freedom and assures that you would appear for the hearings.

The norm behind the concept focuses on the fact that an innocent person doesn’t spend unnecessary time at the jail while at the same time, it ensures that the guilty doesn’t abscond his/her trials.

Steps Involved in Bail

The procedure of bail differs from jurisdictions to countries but stated below are the steps that are generally involved in attaining a bail:

  • Step 1 – A suspect (or suspects) is/are arrested for a grave crime.
  • Step 2 – The court expects the defendant(s), i.e. the person held for trial, to appear for the hearings to permit substantial freedom during the interim period although demanding for a financial reassurance.
  • Step 3 – The amount of the bail is mostly pre-determined against the type of offence. However, if you’re unable to produce the money asked of you as a financial reassurance, you can produce a plea to the court for reducing the amount at a special bail hearing. The court also demands an assurance from the defender to attend the hearing/s on the respective dates.
  • Step 4 – The defendant appears for all the hearings and once the case is resolved, the amount of the bail is returned by the court. If the defendant made the complete payment out-of-pocket, then the total amount is returned by the court.
Bail Work

How Does Bail Work Depending on the Crime Committed?

The amount of bail differs upon the severity of the crime committed but the court may intervene in this regard based on the pleas of the suspect. Also, the officer who has taken the suspect into custody will perform a thorough background check of the suspect and collect evidences or circumstantial evidences of the crime committed. The officers’ findings are also necessary to provide a suspect with a bail.

How Does Bail Work When the Defendant Does Not Appear for Hearings?

In circumstances where you (as the defendant) fail to appear at the court for the hearings, the court keeps the amount of the bail. The amount of the bail is usually paid by an insurance company or agents who serve people with bail amounts for attaining their bail. In such cases, if you fail to turn up at the court or voluntarily exempt yourself from the hearing, the amount of the bail bond is not returned. The bail bondsman may also hire investigators to look into the matter and produce you (the defendant) at court. In such circumstances, the charges against the defendant becomes more complicated while the amount of the bail is returned to the agent.

Bail Granted Based on Flight Risk

If you’re appearing for a hearing as a suspect and have posted for a bail, the court will assess whether you pose as a “flight risk” as well as take into account the “public safety interest” for determining whether you should be granted a bail or kept in legal custody i.e. jail. If the court decides against you being a flight risk, you’ll be exempted from jail and allowed to fly under the norms that conform to the Bail Act. You should be well aware about the rules and regulations that you must follow when you are on bail.

If you fail to conform to any of the rules, the court and the police may charge you under those circumstances as well. Hence, you should have a clear knowledge about the proceedings for attaining a bail and the norms that you must follow if you receive the bail. 

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