Recently, a 31-year-old flight attendant was involved in a crime when she allegedly dumped a bag of cocaine after she was in possession of it with intent to distribute. She was carrying almost 70 pounds of cocaine when she was selected for screening at the Los Angeles Airport, and took off running knowing she would be caught for her crime. She was denied bail because it was determined that she could be a risk of flight and was ordered to remain in custody until she could be transported for her hearing. This is just one of the many crimes where people are denied bail, but what happens to those who are approved? Bail is the amount of money that a defendant must pay to be released from custody pending trial. Judges will typically set bail unless there is some kind of risk that stops them from doing so. Bail is usually set at a defendant’s first court appearance and will usually follow set amounts, such as $500 for nonviolent petty misdemeanors. However, it is really up to the judge on whether or not they want to raise or lower the standard amount.
What Will Be Taken Into Consideration For Bail?
Here are some factors that all judges take into consideration when choosing whether or not to set bail:
- Bail Schedules: Bail is usually set on a standard schedule with a specified amount. This means that, in many jurisdictions, defendants are able to post bail with the police before they are brought for a bail hearing. However, if they are unable to pay this amount, it will be necessary to meet with a judge. There are some things to be taken into consideration, such as the fact that bail for offenses classified as felonies is give to ten times the bail required for misdemeanors.
- Seriousness of Crime: The more serious the crime, the more serious the amount becomes. This is most unfortunate for those who have committed a felony and still believe they will pay a low amount.
- Past Criminal Record or Outstanding Warrants: If the criminal has an extensive prior record, then they will almost surely face higher amounts. A judge may also choose to deny it altogether in order to keep the defendant in custody.
- Ties to the Community: Those who are more involved in their community are known to be lesser risks to flee or endanger others. Say that somebody lives in the United States but has family in another country and a passport that can get them there. If this is the case, the judge may not set bail for the criminal and will instead choose to hold them in custody long enough for the charge to be pursued.
- Probability of Court Appearances: Does the judge believe that there is a good probability the defendant will make it to court appearances? Courts will generally require higher bail settings for those with a history of missing court hearings.
- Risk of Public Safety: The court will examine the nature and seriousness of danger to others in the community and the risk they pose to themselves as well.
Have you been convicted of a crime and are hoping to receive bail? You may have questions about your conviction and what you should expect from the court process. Call an attorney you can trust to help you every step of the way. Contact us today at The Law Office of Peter Blair.