Criminal suspects, even those who face similar charges, don't always get the same bail. Some people get reasonable or even low bail, while others seem to attract the highest bail amounts possible. Bail amounts vary because of many determining factors, which vary by suspect. For example, the judge may set your bail high under the following circumstances.
You Face Serious Criminal Charges
The judge may set your bail high if the prosecutor has filed serious criminal charges against you. The rationale is that criminal suspects who face serious criminal charges are likely to flee because they face serious punishment upon a conviction. Therefore, the judge may use a high bail to reduce your risk of flight.
Unfortunately, prosecutors sometimes set unreasonably high charges even for moderate cases. Such prosecutors may want to give themselves wiggle room during the plea bargaining negotiations. But generally, the judge will use your initial charges to set your bail.
The Evidence Against You Is Strong
The judge may also set your bail high if the state has strong evidence against you. The stronger the evidence is against you, the more likely the prosecution is to convict you. Maybe the prosecution has an eyewitness that can place you at the scene of the crime. Here, again, the judge may set a high bail to discourage your flight.
You Lack Strong Community Ties
Most judges are of the opinion that criminal suspects with strong community ties are less likely to flee than suspects without strong community ties. For example, the judge may deem you have strong community ties if:
- You work in the local school
- You are married and your family lives in the area
- You run a family business in the area
Strong community ties may afford you a reasonable bail. However, lack of strong community ties may see the judge set your bail high.
You Have a Criminal History
A criminal history can earn you a high bail for two main reasons. First, a criminal history shows that you don't respect the law, which means you are at a higher risk to break the law and jump bail. Secondly, a criminal history aggravates your present criminal charges, which increases your punishment should the court convict you.
You Jumped Bail in the Past
You will most likely face a high bail if you had jumped bail in the past. With such a history, the court may assume that history is likely to repeat itself, and they will set a high bail to prevent you from a repeat performance.
Similar Cases Have Attracted a High Bail
Although judges don't have to follow case precedents, they have the prerogative to use past cases as a guide if they so wish. Therefore, if similar cases have attracted high bail in the past, the judge may follow suit and set your bail high. After all, the past judges must have had good reasons to set bail high, and the current judge can rely on the same reasons to set your bail high.
You Are a Danger to the Society
Lastly, the judge may also set your bail high if they think you are a danger to the society. You are a danger to the society if you are likely to cause further damage to property or injuries to other people if the court releases you on bail. The judge is likely to determine you are a danger to the society if the prosecution has charged you with a violent crime, such as murder.
Ronald K. Smith does his best to get you released on reasonable bail. At our law firm, we will also design the best defense according to your specific circumstances and the nature of your charges. Contact us the minute the police arrest you so that you don't spend time in jail unnecessarily.