Criminal Law Basics – How Bail Works

In the United States of America, those who are accused of a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty. When there is sufficient evidence to bring someone to trial, however, the courts are also obligated to ensure the suspect will be in court so their guilt can be determined. To help ensure people aren’t subject to unjust incarceration while waiting for trail, the bail system was developed. Understanding how bail works will help ensure you or your loved ones will be able to get released as soon as possible should there be an arrest.

What Is Bail?

When someone is arrested and accused of a crime they will quickly go in front of a judge for their bail hearing. This usually happens the first business day after their arrest. This hearing is quite brief, and the judge will simply determine what, if any, bail is required for the accused to be released from jail. Once that person comes up with the money required for bail, they will be released. The courts will hold on to the money until the accused returns for their other court dates. If they show up for court, the money will be returned (minus any court costs and other expenses). So to put it simply, bail is used to ensure people return for their trial.

How Is Bail Determined?

The judge will use a number of factors when deciding how much the bail should be. Some of the most important factors include the following:

  • Severity of the Crime
  • Attachments to the Area
  • Criminal Record
  • Recommendations of Prosecutors and Defense Attorney
  • Much More

In the end, the judge has a lot of flexibility on setting bail. They can release someone on their own reconnaissance, which means there is no bail at all, or they can deny bail altogether. In most cases, however, they will set bail with a significant dollar amount that will be a strong incentive for the accused to return to the court when their trial begins.

How to Pay Bail

In the vast majority of cases, the accused won’t have the ability to pay the full bail amount on their own. To help come up with the bail money, there are bail bond companies that are available. They will work with the accused to come up with some level of collateral, and then pay the courts the full bail amount. If the accused doesn’t show up for their court date, the bail bond company will track them down (using bounty hunters in many cases) and bring them to jail so they get their money back. If the accused does show up for court, the bail bond company will get their money returned from the court and make a profit from the fees charged to the customer.

 This is a very effective setup that allows people to be able to get out of jail while waiting for their court date without overburdening the courts or the police. Having a private company facilitate this process has helped protect the rights of the people, while also ensuring those who are accused of a crime will show up for their day in court. 

If you have been arrested, you need an attorney on your side long before your bail has been set. The attorneys at Abdallah Law have helped many Chicago residents with their criminal trials, and we are happy to help you. Contact us today.

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Abdallah Law

Abdallah Law has been a successful law firm serving the people of Chicago and the surrounding area for years. This success can be attributed to one thing: Our team. At Abdallah Law, protecting our clients’ rights and safeguarding their liberties is the driving force of everything we do.

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