On the list of bits of knowledge that you hope you will never have to use in real life, along with how to escape from a car that is submerged under water and how to defend yourself against a bear, is an understanding of the bail system. However, it can be a good idea to at least have a working knowledge of what bail is and how it works, just in case you or someone you know ever ends up facing time in jail. Let’s say you commit some sort of crime and get arrested. Bail is the amount of money that the courts require from you as a security deposit if you want to be released until your court date. Show up for court and the money is returned to you. Fail to return on your appointed day and the court keeps the money. It’s important to remember, however, that there are times when a court will deny bail, making it impossible for you to get released before your court date. Here are some reasons why this might happen.
The Judge Suspects You Will Not Return
If the judge assigned to your case suspects that you will not return for your court appearance, he or she can deny your bail altogether. Why might they suspect such a thing? Here are some reasons.
- You’ve failed to show up to court in the past.
- You told an officer or a court representative that you didn’t plan on returning.
- You are being aggressive.
- Your crime has such a heavy penalty and you don’t want to face a long prison sentence.
- You are mentally impaired and don’t have the support system to ensure that you return to court at the appointed time.
For these reasons, it behooves you to make it clear that you plan on returning to court and to behave respectfully to all officers and court representatives you come in contact with.
The Nature of Your Crime
Usually, some kind of bail is posted and these can range from small sums of money up into the millions of dollars. The person facing jail time can either pay it themselves, have a friend or a family member pay it for them, or work with a bondsman to pay the expense. However, if you are being tried for a serious crime, like murder, the judge has the right to withhold bail. This action ensures that you will stand trial and face the potential consequences. Also, if the judge feels that, because of the nature of the crime you are being held for, you might be a danger to the general public if you were to be released, he or she can choose to deny bail. Similarly, if the judge feels that you might pose a threat to the victim of the crime you were arrested for, he or she can choose to have you remain in court custody until your trial date.