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How do judges decide on bail amount?

| Jun 20, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

While you may argue against your criminal charge and the circumstances of your arrest, you must first see to your release from police custody. You need to pay bail, but you wonder how New York’s legal system sets bail. 

The American Bar Association defines bail and explains how judges decide on a bail amount. Understanding the factors surrounding your bail may help you mount a defense. 

Understanding bail 

Bail acts as an incentive for defendants to appear in court for pretrial hearings and trial. After the trail, you get your bail amount back, minus potential processing fees. 

Setting bail 

So, how did the judge decide on your specific bail amount? Common factors include the local community’s safety, whether you present a flight risk and whether the judge views you as a threat. Judges also consider criminal charges when deciding on the bail amount. Besides bail amount, you may also have to adhere to bail conditions. For instance, if accused of menacing someone, your bail condition may stipulate that you cannot interact with the alleged victim. 

Paying bail  

Say that you cannot pay your bail. You may have no choice but to work with a bail bonds company. With this arrangement, you pay a portion of the bail while the bail bonds company covers the remaining amount if you fail to appear in court. 

Bypassing bail 

A judge may release you from custody without bail. For instance, if you benefit your community, have steady employment or a reason to remain in your geographic location and not flee, you may not have to pay bail. No matter if you have to pay bail or not, you must still appear for all court dates. 

If you have to pay bail, understand how much you must pay and whether it comes with conditions. 


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