Why Some People Are Denied Bail

All-Pro Bail BondsIn today’s courts, judges have leeway to grant or deny bail based upon several factors. A bail hearing doesn’t automatically mean that a defendant will be granted bail. Additionally, the dollar amount for bail may vary significantly based upon the details of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.

For example, a first-time offender may be released on his “own recognizance,” which means that there is no bail required and a defendant is released until a future court date. On the other hand, someone who has been arrested in the past might be required to pay high bail in exchange for release. Defendants who are released on bail may have that privilege revoked due to improper behavior, failure to show up for court, or further criminal behavior.

Depending on the circumstances, some defendants may be denied bail entirely and be required to remain in jail.

A judge can’t know for certain whether someone will show up for court, so he or she must make an educated guess regarding the likely future behavior of a defendant. Some of the factors that may influence whether bail is granted include the following:

  • Severity of the crime and the number of counts
  • Attitude of the defendant at the hearing
  • Foreign resident status and potential for leaving the jurisdiction
  • Missing court dates in the past
  • Statements from officers who are knowledgeable on the matter

Additionally, defendants who may be mentally impaired may be required to remain in a medical facility or jail due to an uncertain mental state.

A judge who decides to deny bail to a defendant generally has valid reasons for doing so; however, a defendant’s attitude during the bail hearing and the arguments of his lawyer will influence the outcome of the proceeding.

Outside of circumstances where bail is denied automatically, defendants should know that the state or prosecutor must give the court evidence that bail and release would be inappropriate. Defendants and their legal representatives may bring witnesses and evidence to the bail hearing to contradict the evidence brought by the prosecutor.

Cases that land in federal court are held to the Bail Reform Act of 1984, which guides the courts on whether bail may be denied to a defendant. State and local courts will usually operate under the laws of the state; however, those laws often mirror those used in federal court.

In certain jurisdictions, bail may be denied automatically because of local rules on certain types of violations and on the past behavior of a defendant. For example, a defendant who has escaped from jail in the past might be denied bail. Cases where the punishment may include the death penalty also tend to be inappropriate for bail in any amount.

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