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What is Bail? How Do Judges Set Bail?


When someone is arrested, they may be released from custody on bail (surety). While the specific rules vary by state, generally those arrested are allowed to post a set amount of money to ensure they will appear in court when required.

Bail can be paid in cash or by using a bail bond company. If the accused fails to appear in court, they may forfeit the surety payment. Surety amounts are typically set based on the severity of the charge and the defendant’s criminal history. In some cases, a person may be released from jail without having to post surety.

This is known as being “released on recognizance.” The decision about whether to release someone on recognizance is typically made by a judge, who will consider factors such as good past record, longtime residence in a community, support of family members, and employment.

What Is Bail Exactly?

The person bailing another out of jail is morally obliged to guarantee the finances of their loved one for release by putting up collateral. A bail bond is a payment made by someone who has been arrested to either guarantee they show up at all future court proceedings or, extract themselves from custody before trial.

This guarantees the appearance of the accused person in court as well as assure that he/she will attend later hearings even if he/she skips town before being found guilty. The term “bail” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word gaol which was derived from Latin meaning “to take care.”

In the US legal system, a surety is a security deposit given by the accused to assure their attendance in court. It can be paid in money or property worth about 4 or 5 times the threatened bond that might be set by a judge. The point of a bail is to ensure that someone who has been arrested doesn’t get released from jail before appearing at their next court date, and never show up. A bail bondsman assists with making this type of transaction.

How Do Judges Set Bail?


Judges determine whether or not to bail a criminal based upon many possible factors. Generally, judges want to make sure the accused will be able to return for court dates and might wait as long as 24-48 hours before issuing a ruling.

Again, the decision is going to depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Factors that may influence a judge’s decision include: severity of crime, level of interference with victims’ lives, prior record and potential risk for repeat offending.

For this reason, it can be difficult in advance to predict all cases in which a judge would grant surety or not grant bail if one keeps in mind these broad guidelines from throughout this article. Some other contributing factors might also include financial stability and ties outside or inside the society, past criminal records, etc.

What Does “Breaching a Bail” Mean?

Breaching means to jump over something. A surety is a legal measure that acts to ensure good behaviour in court by the offender, usually taken in response to an assault or theft for example. If someone breaches their bail then they are skipping out on what was set out for them legally.

This could potentially land the person back in prison so if you breach your bail it is important not to go too long without sorting everything out with the courts and returning any items safely rather than fleeing the area entirely so as not get caught again before returning both things well.

Breaching a bail is a violation of the law and it could lead to serious consequences. For instance, if you miss your court date without notifying authorities, they may issue an arrest warrant for your arrest which can lead to jail time. Some other examples of breaching the terms of your surety bond are failure to show up for probation meetings, failure to abide by no-contact orders with victim/witness who was involved in same crime as you, and many more depending on the state’s laws.

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