When a person is accused of committing a crime, they are arrested, booked and processed. Once they are in jail and fully processed, they will appear in front of a judge at an arraignment hearing. An arraignment hearing is used to determine whether or not they are eligible for a bail bond. Bail bonds are amounts of money that are paid to the court as a kind of insurance policy that guarantees the defendant will return to the court for their scheduled hearings. There are several factors that are used by the judge to make their decision about bail. The next few paragraphs will explain how bail is determined and what information is used.
When determining bail, one of the most important factors is the nature of the crime and its severity. If the crime in question involved violence or the death of another person, bail may not be granted. If it is offered, there is a strong chance it will be set extremely high. The reason behind an excessively high bail is that it ensures the court the defendant will return. It is also set to that extent with the hope the defendant may not be able to raise that kind of money. If the crime is minor and no violence or bodily injury was involved and the judge feels that the defendant is not a threat to themselves or others, the bail amount will be more reasonable.
Another thing the judge will take into consideration is the defendant's past criminal history. If this is a first time arrest, the bail will probably be set quite low. If the defendant has an extensive criminal history, the bail will be set higher, or in some cases, not at all.
The last major consideration is whether or not the judge believes the defendant poses a flight risk. If a person is considered to be a flight risk, it means there is a good possibility that they will skip bail or not show up for their court hearing. If this is the case, the judge will set the defendant's bail high enough so that it is difficult for them to locate that kind of cash. If bail is granted and the defendant fails to appear, their bail money will be forfeited if they cannot be located and returned to jail. In most cases, if a defendant skips bail, the judge will give the bail bond agency a certain amount of time to find and return the defendant to custody. A person who has solid ties to the community and holds a steady job is more likely to appear in court and poses a minimal flight risk. In this case, the judge will set a bond that is more reasonable and easy to obtain.
First time offenders who are considered a minimal flight risk may be released on their own recognizance without having to post a bond. All they have to do is sign a paper stating they promise to return for their court hearings. This is known as a signature bond.
The licensed agents at South Texas Bail Bonds are here to help you when you need them. Our office never closes and an agent is always on staff. Call 956-377-5381 to have all of your bail bonds questions answered today!