While experiencing the need to post bail might not be a common occurrence for most, you’ve more than likely been exposed to the concept. With bail’s infamy in most forms of popular media, there can be a few ill and pre-conceived notions about both the bail’s amount and its terms.
Contrary to popular belief, a considerable amount of thought and consideration goes into not just the amount of bail, but whether or not it is even awarded at all! Fortunately, we plan to go over and dispel three of the most common misconceptions we hear on a regular basis!
Everyone is Given a Chance to Post Bail
This is FALSE! Fact of the matter is, posting bail is a privilege, not a right and can be denied to certain individuals based on a variety of different variables. The first of these being the severity of any committed crimes. Those accused of a serious crime like murder or sexual assault might not receive a chance to post bail. Contrarily, those tied to a lower level crime like petty theft or breaking and entering would more than likely be given that opportunity.
Explaining the practice in a more universally understood way, Alen Ghouliance from Ezine explains
“Bail is an assurance to the court that the person awarded bail will return for any and all court dates.”
In his simplification, Alen establishes that paying the amount is used as an incentive for convincing the accused to show up to court. Should he or she miss any court dates, the money paid is forfeited. With that in mind, there’s one more natural variable we can assume is taken into account when awarding bail.
Attendance is just as important now as it was back in your high school days! Your expectancy to attend each and every one of your court dates is also very closely considered when determining whether or not you’re eligible for bail.
Everyone’s Conditions are the Same
Bail doesn’t take a “one size fits all” approach when dealing with diverse cases. When posting bail, judges have to take particular details of the case into account. That being said, the nature and severity of your accused or committed crimes are heavily considered. Based on these considerations, some special conditions and contingencies can be placed on your bail.
For example, if you find yourself incarcerated for physically harming someone, a special condition of your bail could forbid you from making contact with your alleged victim. Another very common contingency can include restricting your travel. As a matter of fact, not being able to leave the state you were accused in is a very commonly seen condition of release.
Bail Amount is the Same in Most Cases
Now onto the dimension of bail everyone cares about: the price! Tv shows, literature, and other forms of popular media would have you believe that every bail amount is exorbitantly high and grants no prejudice towards what kind of crime was committed. Again, this is a very ill-informed misconception!
A lot of intensive thought and consideration goes into determining just how much a bail amount is set for. In fact, according to Micah Schwartzbach, an attorney and writer for Nolo, an algorithm is used to fabricate a bail amount befitting both the accused party and his or her alleged crimes. This algorithm takes a surprising amount of different variables into consideration including age, current charges, criminal history, and even record of failing to appear in court.
Bail is far from a generic and all-encompassing term. While many are blind to the work and effort that goes into determining a bail’s amount and conditions, there is no denying that a considerable amount of thought goes into its fabrication!