These Four Factors May Determine The Amount You Pay As Bail

Bail is the amount of financial guarantee you pay to secure your release from custody. It guarantees that you will appear in court; if you don't, then you forfeit the bail money. Here are four of the common factors that determine the amount of bail to pay:

Bail Schedule

Most jurisdictions have bail schedules, which determine the amount of bail applicable in each criminal case. In such places, you can post bail even before appearing in front of a judge. The schedules, which list the most common crimes, vary considerably from location to location. You can't negotiate for a lower amount than the one indicated on the bail schedule because the police officers do not have the authority to lower it. If you want to pay a lower amount, then you must go before the judge.

Nature of the Crime

The nature and circumstances of your alleged crime determine how likely you are to appear in court. Courts are of the opinion that the more serious your crimes are, the more likely you are to disappear. This is because such crimes attract serious charges, which may make you afraid to appear for your hearing. That is why violent crimes such as robbery attract high bail amounts.

Criminal History

It's not just your present criminal charge that determines your bail; even your past brushes with the law come into play. Your bail amount may be high if you have been convicted of several crimes in the past. This is even more likely to be the case if you have skipped bail in the past. In fact, such a history may result in you being denied bail altogether.

Financial Circumstances

Remember, bail is a guarantee that you will appear in court whenever you are required to do so. If you make all the necessary appearances, then the bail is refunded. If you skip court dates, then you are arrested and you forfeit the bail amount.

Therefore, the amount of bail must be reasonably high relative to your financial status. The rationale is that if the amount is low, then you may skip court hearings without feeling the financial pinch of losing the bail money.

Some of these factors, such as bail schedule, may be beyond your control. Others, such as the seriousness of your crime and financial circumstances, are not absolute things. You can argue, for instance, that your alleged crime isn't as serious as the prosecution want to make it. The assistance of an attorney, such as those at The Law Office of Gregory J. Hermiller, LLC, may help you to present a favorable front to the court to lower your bail amount.