Computer Coding

New Proposal to Replace Bail

When getting arrested, the first thing a person will usually think about is how to get out as quickly as possible.

One thing that people who have been arrested should be aware of is that Texas legislators are sharply debating on whether the role of bail bonds are feasible within its judicial system.

A recent article published in the El Paso Times shows that there are current legislative measures in place in TX to replace the bail system. These proposals include a computer program that will calculate the risk on whether a defendant will commit another crime while awaiting a court date. However, bail bonds are still the most feasible choice when it comes to getting out of jail in and getting released quickly.

What is Bail?

Bail is money in the form of cash or credit card, property, or a bond that an arrested person hands over to a court to ensure that he or she will make a required court appearance when ordered to do so. in the event that the defendant does not show up, the court has the option to keep the bail and issue a warrant of arrest for the defendant.

Bail is set by a judge and since most people want to get out of jail quickly, most common crimes already have a set bail schedule that will specify the amount of bail that must be paid. In order to get out of jail quickly, paying the set bail amount in full will allow for quick release. However, if a suspect cannot pay the amount set by the bail schedule, the suspect can ask the judge to reduce the amount. A request for reduction of the bail amount can be made either doing a special bail hearing or when the suspect appears in court for the first time during an arraignment.

How Bail is Determined

Judges often look at a bail schedule at the beginning in order to set bail. In some cases, judges will also look at the circumstances of the case before making a final decision on bail. Some factors that judges will consider include:

– Seriousness of the case
– Defendant’s prior criminal record
– Potential for defendant to flee before trial
– Defendant’s financial resources
– Potential threat the defendant poses to others

Many of these factors are not related to the offense the defendant is being charged with. There have been several instances where people who have been charged with the same crime pay different bail amounts. This is one of the reasons why state legislators want to implement a new system where bail is set using mathematical algorithms.

Replacing the Bail System with a Computer System

In concern for the poor, lawmakers who support the concept of algorithms and risk assessment tools using a computer system to eliminate the old bond system claim that it will be fairer to the indigent and poor who may not be able to afford to pay fees or raise bail to a bonding agent.

This proposed new system will be broadly used to release suspects on personal recognizance and some people are calling this a get-out-of-jail-free card. Therefore, it may become quite easy to get out of jail in the future if this system is implemented as long as the defendant has not committed a serious offense or has a long criminal rap sheet.

The computer program does not take into account the impact the release of the accused could have on sexual assault and abuse victims. These victims need to know that their perpetrators will show up in court.  This is imperative for the victims’ healing process, and a major element that is neglected with the new proposed computer program.

Posting Bail

Once bail is set, the next step is to post bail using one of the acceptable methods of payment that will vary based on the jurisdiction where that person was arrested. Generally, a person can post bail using one of the following ways:

– Pay the court the entire bail amount
– Contract with a bondsman to post bail for the defendant
– Give the court a security interest in real property

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