If someone is facing trial for a criminal offense, there is often a lot of time between the arrest and a final guilty or not guilty plea. Most people facing charges would like to spend that time elsewhere rather than in jail.
One of the things the judge decides in the initial stages is whether to permit bail. There are various factors that a judge uses to decide, and there are restrictions and rules that the defendant must follow if granted bail release.
Factors considered in setting bail
According to the United States Department of Justice, Offices of the United States Attorneys, the judge determines bail during the arraignment, or initial hearing. Some factors the judge considers include:
- Community, employment and family ties of the defendant
- The defendant’s danger to the community
- Nature and severity of the crime
- Criminal history of the defendant
In rarer cases, the judge may a release on personal recognizance or unsecured bond. If the judge, after weighing the evidence, determines that the defendant is a danger or may flee, the judge will order a detention, in which case the defendant must remain in jail.
Bail release conditions
If the judge grants bail, and the defendant is able to pay, the Legal Information Institute outlines certain restrictions the defendant must follow or risk going back to jail. The person may not commit any additional crimes while on release. Other conditions may include maintaining employment, remaining in a designated person’s custody, beginning an educational program, complying with a curfew, undergoing drug treatment, reporting to a parole officer and refraining from drug or alcohol use.
The judge may impose additional conditions or amend the order at any time.