Bail is a set amount determined by a judge and paid by a defendant to secure their pretrial release. The same thing as, if you happen to be in Yellowstone County, Montana, then you need the services of Bail Bondsman Billings MT, who will educate you about the process and tell you what to expect from it. Bail bond agents usually make the bail process a lot cheaper for defendants by charging a certain percentage of the bail amount to stand as a surety for the defendant’s release. To better understand the process for a bail bond, one has to understand what bail is, the process of securing bail, the factors that affect bail and bail conditions, and more.
When a person has committed an offense or has been named a suspect in a criminal investigation, the chances are high that the person will be arrested. Once an arrest has been made, the arrestee is processed into jail and thus begins their journey through the criminal justice system. Once processed into jail, freedom is stripped off, and the arrestee is processed to appear in court but not before being booked into the jail system.
After an arrest has been completed, the arrestee is processed into the jail system by collecting important information like their full government name, photo, date of birth, age, fingerprints, and any personal possession found on the defendant at the time of the arrest. Once the booking process has been completed, the arrestee is taken to jail.
Once the arrest and booking process has been completed, the police can take one of three actions at this point;
- Release the arrestee with a notice to appear in court on a set date and time
- Release the defendant after bail has been paid
- Keep the defendant until a bail hearing is held.
The decision of the police in each matter will depend on the provision of the state law. For option 2, the police will have to consult a bail schedule – this is a document that contains the list of offenses and the associated bail amounts. Defendants will be required to pay the total amount associated with the offense they’ve been arrested for before their pretrial release.
For option 3, the defendant will be held in custody until the court date has been set, usually within 24 hours of arrest. The arrestee will be presented in court for their initial appearance, also known as an arraignment. The defendant’s charges will be read during this appearance, and their bail application will be heard by the judge presiding over the case. The judge determines whether bail is granted or not and in what amount.
Factors Affecting Bail And Bail Amount
During the initial arraignment or bail hearing, the judge sitting on the case considers several factors before deciding on whether the defendant qualifies to be released on bail or not. Some of the important factors that influence the judge’s decision include;
Flight Risk – A defendant who is more likely to skip bail and run away to evade the consequences of their action is regarded as a flight risk.
Community Connections: Defendants who have families, employment or businesses, and other strong ties to the community are more likely to get their bail application approved. They are believed to be less likely to flee or miss court dates.
Family Obligations: Courts are more likely to release defendants on bail if they are the sole source of livelihood for their family or those who have dependents.
Other factors that affect bail and bail amount include income and assets, the severity of the criminal offense, pending charges or criminal history, and public safety.
Bail And Bail Bonds
Once courts have granted bail, the defendant can pay the amount directly to the court in exchange for their freedom. However, bail amounts are often usually high and unaffordable to many. Those who cannot meet this condition can either remain in jail or seek out bail bond agents. Bail bondsmen are licensed professionals who offer surety bonds to defendants to secure their release from jail. Bail bondsmen make bail a lot more affordable by charging a certain percentage of the bail amount to secure the defendant’s release. For example, if a court has set bail at $25,000 for a defendant, a bail bondsman who charges a 10% premium will demand $2,500 to process the defendant out of jail.
It is important to note that defendants who are out on bail must abide by their bail conditions. Defendants who are out on bail bonds but fail to show up in court can be re-arrested by bail bondsmen or bounty hunters. Once re-arrested, the initial bail amount is forfeited, and the defendant is returned to jail.