When a person is arrested and jailed for an alleged crime, they must eventually appear in court for a bail hearing. Several outcomes are possible. Bail may be granted, in which case it can be inferred that the judge believes the defendant will reliably appear at any later court dates. On the other hand, the judge does have the right to deny bail requests.
It is important to realize that there are few hard and fast rules that are applied in every municipality when it comes to bail schedules. Most courts have a suggested bail schedule that sets out dollar amount ranges for each type of offense committed. However, judges often have quite a bit of latitude when it comes to selecting the bail amount, or whether or not bail will be granted at all.
Common Considerations for Bail
Type of Offense
The first factor the judge will consider is the type of offense. According to John Zavala, CEO of Around the Clock Bail Bonds, “particularly violent or heinous crimes may warrant an automatic denial of bail for the defendant.” In most jurisdictions, defendants who are suspected murderers are likely to be denied bail in any amount. The same can be said for people accused of treason - defendants suspected of committing this serious crime are given little leeway when it comes to bail. Additionally, defendants who were on probation or parole at the time of the newly committed offense can generally expect to have a request for bail denied.
Demeanor of the Defendant
Judges are also likely to consider the demeanor of the defendant. Should the defendant appear belligerent or combative in court, the judge may take this as an indication that he does not respect the court’s authority, and may not be likely to appear at later court dates. Moreover, this type of behavior may indicate a tendency toward violence that would put the public at risk if the defendant was granted bail.
The History of the Defendant
The defendant’s history may also play a role in whether or not he is granted bail. Defendants who have escaped from custody in the past, or who have avoided court dates in prior legal matters are generally considered to be a greater bail risk. In order to ensure that such an individual keeps his court date, the judge will deny bail.
Risk of Flight
Risk of flight is another common deciding factor when it comes to bail. People who have entered the U.S. illegally and may be tempted to flee to their country of origin to escape prosecution are the most obvious flight risks. However, American citizens who have managed to elude police and court officials in the past are also considered a flight risk and may be denied bail.
The Defendant’s Mental Capacity
Defendants who have some form of mental impairment may also find that they are not granted bail. If the defendant does not have a responsible family member or assistant who can help ensure that they will appear in court on the appointed day, then the judge is unlikely to comply with a request for bail.
The bail system is complex and many factors can influence the outcome of a bail hearing. The best strategy for the defendant is to hire a good attorney to plead their case before the judge. Attorneys understand the local bail schedule and the tendencies and practices of the judges in their municipality. With the assistance of legal counsel, defendants are more likely to get a fair hearing and a reasonable bail amount. Overall, it is important for the defendant to appear calm, composed and in control when they appear before the judge in order to provide reassurance that they are not a flight risk or a danger to society.
Around the Clock Bail Bonds is a leading bail bond company with locations throughout Central Texas. For news and updates, follow Around the Clock Bail Bonds on Facebook.
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