Factors That Could Make Your Bail Hearing Tougher

No one wants to face a tough judge and a critical jury. But even though people strictly follow laws and regulations, some events could lead them to do criminal acts. A wife who finds her husband with a mistress could commit murder because of blind rage. A mother could seriously injure a person who planned on robbing her home or hurting her kids. Still, there are also people who do criminal acts not only because they need money, but also because of the adrenalin rush that they get from such violent or cruel behavior. Whatever a person has done, there are certain legal steps that need to be followed before trial commences.

Posting Bail

After an individual is arrested, he is kept in police custody before the trial to prove his innocence begins. But he can be released beforehand if he posts bail. Bail is the amount of money or a form of security given to the court as assurance that the defendant will be there in court during scheduled appearances. If a person skips bail or fails to appear in court, bail is forfeited.

There are two ways that a bail amount is determined. First is through a bail schedule, and second is via a bail hearing. A bail schedule contains detailed information regarding specific offenses and their corresponding bail fee. Usually, those who commit misdemeanors or minor offenses don’t need to go through a bail hearing. In some cases, authorities just issue citations, such as a traffic ticket, instead of requiring offenders to pay bail. On the other hand, repeat offenders or those who committed serious felonies may be required to undergo a bail hearing. Here, a judge determines the bail amount to be set, and the presiding judge could also lay down other conditions regarding a person’s bail. A few examples of conditions that could be demanded by the court are: who a defendant should live with; where a defendant should live; when or how many times a person has to report his whereabouts to his surety; and many others. Further conditions are ordered either to protect the defendant or to safeguard a victim or a community.

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Factors That Negatively Affect Bail Hearings

Some things convince a judge to be more lenient towards a defendant, while other things make a judge more severe or strict. For instance, a first-time offender who demonstrates grave regret could be granted a lower bail. Judges often favor those who are respectful in court, and those who demonstrate responsibility and remorse for their actions.

On the other hand, there are also certain things that could turn a judge against a person. When a judge senses that the defendant is disrespectful or unrepentant, he could impose a higher bail amount. Other factors that negatively affect a person’s bail hearing are:

– The person accused is a repeat offender.

Repeat offenders are individuals who continue to commit illegal acts even though they’ve already been arrested many times before. Judges are usually more lenient towards first-time offenders, and they are harsher when dealing with habitual offenders.

– The accused has other legal problems.

A judge will most likely require a higher bail amount from someone who also has several other legal problems or run-ins with the law. In some cases, a judge could even refuse bail. Legal problems could include but are not limited to the following: accused is on parole; accused has outstanding warrant; or accused has history of non-appearance during required court appearances.

– The accused committed a serious or violent crime.

A judge will most likely impose a higher bail amount or refuse bail to someone who carried out a grave felony, such as robbery, murder, or kidnapping. Oftentimes, a judge carefully considers if the offender is a threat to society or to himself.


Claire Brown regularly contributes articles to legal websites. She also writes for California Bail Bonds Direct, a company that offers bail assistance to those in need.

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