What is a Bail Hearing?

After a person is accused of a crime, he will be required to appear in front of a judge or magistrate for a bail hearing. At this hearing, the judge will have to decide whether the accused person will get bail or if he will be made to wait behind bars until his trial starts. Bail means that someone has paid money to release the defendant from jail, promising that he will be present for all other hearings.

What Bail Does
Bail is used to ensure that an accused defendant will appear at hearings concerning his criminal case. This includes preliminary hearings and his criminal trial. Once he has been accused of a crime, the criminal court where his case will be heard wants to make sure that he will not run away from the consequences of his actions.

Requiring a family member or bail bond company to put money down to ensure that he doesn’t flee can help ensure that the defendant will stay put. If the bail amount is large enough, the defendant may decide against fleeing just because he knows the financial hardship he would cause by running. This is especially true if a family member has put up money or property as bail.

Why Bail is Necessary
Someone accused of a crime may want to run away from the actions he is accused of taking, if it means escaping responsibility. Knowing this, criminal courts have established bail hearings. At this hearing, the district attorney speaks for the state and injured party, the defense attorney speaks for the defendant and the judge or magistrate decides whether the defendant will be released on bail or not. The judge has to think about the charges and circumstances. If the charge involves violence or drugs, he may be less likely to grant bail. He also considers the evidence against the defendant. He has to consider whether the danger to people in the community. The defendant’s character will affect the judge’s decision as well.

Factors Considered
In addition to considering the defendant’s character and the seriousness of the crime, the judge has to take several other factors into consideration, including family ties, financial resources, how long the defendant has lived in the community, his physical and mental state, any criminal history, his history of alcohol or substance abuse and his prior record of appearances in court.

Requirements for Defendant
Once the defendant has been released on bail, he will be required to comply with several requirements, such as obeying all laws, federal state and local. If the defendant is believed to be a flight risk or a danger to the community or a specific person, the court can set restrictions or conditions, such as limiting travel, requiring that he find a job or an education, undergoing psychological or medical treatment, alcohol or drug testing, following a curfew, staying in someone’s custody, staying away from certain persons or signing a bond agreement that ensures he will make future court appearances.

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