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How Does Bail Work?

The right to liberty is sacred. Citizens are usually allowed to hold on to their freedom during the duration of court proceedings. However, certain circumstances where a bail application may be denied, and a just reason usually accompanies refusal. The presumption of innocence gives you a right to apply for bail and have the application fairly considered. Bail is the practice whereby suspects are released from custody before completing court proceedings upon payment of bail in cash. 

The trial judge sets the specified amount payable to the court. The money is paid to the court to secure your attendance at all court proceedings. Failure to attend court without a reasonable excuse leads to the forfeit of bail paid. The court may grant conditional bail, e.g., requiring you to surrender your passport or a restraining order protecting your spouse from underscoring the importance of domestic violence awareness. These conditions must be adhered to. Contravening the requirements will result in your bail being revoked and you being taken into custody. 

Applying for Bail

Bail is a constitutional right and should be applied for at the earliest opportunity. The bail application process varies in different jurisdictions and for additional offenses. It is best to seek a lawyer's advice to properly understand if you qualify and, if so, how to apply for bail. If your bail application is denied or the amount is set too high, your lawyer will explain your chances of success on appeal. 

Granting or Dismissing Bail Application

Bail determination is a legal process that applies a combination of factors, including community structure, the gravity of the alleged crime, the danger posed by the suspect to the alleged victim or community, and flight risk posed by the suspect.  When a defendant has strong ties to the community, e.g., a farm that is the single source of livelihood or significant family ties, bail is likely to be granted.

 A foreigner or stranger to the jurisdiction is more likely to be denied bail. Non-violent offenders are also much more likely to receive bail than suspects accused of violent or heinous crimes. The danger posed by the suspect is an overwhelming factor, e.g., where a defendant is in a position of authority or power to interfere with witnesses, investigations, and court processes, they are likely to be denied bail. The suspects' ability to flee the jurisdiction is also considered; where one has ample means to run, e.g., private jets, bail is likely to be denied. 

Determining Bail Amount

Once the bail application is accepted, the next hurdle is getting a good figure set by considering several factors. Most of the factors affecting whether or not bail is granted also affect how much the court demands. Set bail amounts are open to appeal, which may or may not be granted. Bail may be paid directly to the court or through the services of a bail bondsman. The court also accepts property titles as security provided the leveraged property meets the set bail amount.