Bail

If there is a crime committed, the suspect may be soon booked and taken into police custody. During the booking process, the police personnel record all information pertaining to age, height, name, date of birth and other identification marks. Besides, they also record the nature of the crime and take the fingerprints and photographs. After their personal property is confiscated, the suspect is placed in a holding cell.

What is a bail?

While the actual trials are awaited, the suspect can secure a temporary release by paying a determined amount of money. Known as “bail” the process is only to ensure the individual’s commitment to return to the court for the scheduled hearings and proceedings. The bail amount will be returned as soon as the individual returns as promised to the court.

The bail is not a guarantee of release, nor is it a penalty. It is merely a security to ensure the individual returns as promised. Sometimes, if the nature of the crime is not of a serious nature, the court may grant a bail with just a written promise. The court will consider the following factors before deciding the bail amount and whether the bail should be granted at all.

These factors include:

  • How serious the crime is
  • The criminal record of the suspect if any
  • Whether the individual poses a serious threat to the community
  • Whether the suspect at a risk of fleeing

Factors that influence bail

A bail hearing is usually conducted to determine if the alleged crime is eligible for a bail and the amount of bail. Bail proceedings will take into account many things that pertain to the suspect including:

  • Mental and physical condition
  • Family ties
  • Financial condition
  • Alcohol or drug abuse history if any
  • Criminal record if any
  • How long the suspect has been living in the particular community

Along with deciding the bail amount, the court will also decide if restrictions on movement such as travel limitations, curfew, medical treatment, revoking gun license, psychological assessment are necessary.

Types of bail

There are many types of bail including cash bail, surety bond or bail bond, release on citation, property bond, or personal recognizance. Cash bail involves paying full bail amount in cash or sometimes credit card. Sometimes when the accused cannot pay the bail, a bail agent offers a bail bond or a surety bond. The agent charges 10% of the bail amount as payment besides also collecting a collateral payment in terms of jewellery or car. The accused can also pledge his property in lieu of cash or other payment modes. The court takes over the property in case the accused does not appear as promised after the bail duration.