What Makes Bail So Expensive?

You may have heard of people being arrested and held on several thousands of dollars' worth of bail. Until you or a loved one has to pay bail, you might not ever think seriously about the expense and getting released from jail. To help you understand what goes into setting bail and the best way to cope with getting released, read below.

What Is Bail?

Bail is a financial payment to the court that pledges the defendant will return to face their charges at a later court date. Jail is no place to plan a defense against charges, so being released quickly is paramount. Along with a financial payment and a promise to show up at future court dates comes certain bail conditions. They usually include avoiding more arrests, not leaving the area, and not associating with criminals or any alleged victims.

How Are Bail Costs Set?

Bail varies in the way it's set. Some jurisdictions post bail schedules for common offenses like driving under the influence (DUI) at the jail, and those bail costs are non-negotiable. Other jurisdictions use a computer program to set bail. The program takes into account several factors and produces a range of appropriate bail costs for the judge to follow. Most jurisdictions, however, set bail using the below factors:

  • The criminal record of the accused.
  • The potential for the defendant to be a threat to the public. If the defendant is accused of a serious crime like murder, no bail will be offered.
  • The potential for the defendant to disobey bail conditions. If the defendant failed to follow bail conditions in the past, bail could be much higher.
  • The seriousness of the charges. A felony would require a higher bail amount than a misdemeanor, for example.

How to Cope With Bail

You can pay the bail cost directly to the court or you can go through a bail bond company. For a fraction of the full bail cost, a release from jail is possible. Just like paying the full amount, the crime and the personal characteristics of the defendant go into the amount you pay the bail bonding agent. The amount you pay varies from location to location but is often a percentage ranging from 5% to 15% of the full bail cost. Since you are entering into an agreement with the bail bonding company, you may have to comply with additional bail conditions.

To find out more about this easy and inexpensive way of getting out of jail, call on a local bail bonding company and find out more.