Will You Be Granted Bond if Accused of a Violent Crime?
Many people charged with violent crimes have never been through the criminal justice system, and therefore do not understand the bail system.
First, it is important to understand what bail bonds are and how they work.
A bail bond is a type of payment presented to a court in exchange for the release of a person who has been arrested. The defendant’s friends or family pay a portion of the bond to the bail bond agent (usually 10 percent), but the full value of the bond only becomes payable if the defendant does not appear in court.
In some cases, a defendant will put up collateral to help meet bail or pay for a bail bond. This collateral could be any form of personal property such as a house, real estate, a vehicle, jewelry or other valuable items. This collateral will be returned to the owner later in the process. If the defendant fails to show up to court, however, the collateral is forfeit.
A judge sets the bail amount during the initial bail hearing. In doing so, he or she will consider various factors in the case, including the severity of the crime, any prior convictions, the ties the defendant has in the community, the family of the defendant and whether the defendant maintains steady employment.
Common reasons for denying bail
Just because you are accused of a violent crime does not mean you will be automatically denied bail. However, judges will consider certain factors when determining if bail is appropriate in a case.
The following are a few of the most common reasons judges cite for denying bail:
- Flight risk: The defendant either has a history of not appearing to court dates or is particularly likely to flee if given the opportunity.
- Severe nature of crime: The defendant is accused of a serious federal crime. Bail is often denied, for example, to people charged with murder or espionage.
- Probation or parole: The defendant was on parole or probation at the time the crime committed, and thus he or she violated the terms of the agreement and cannot be trusted to be responsible after posting bond.
- Not an American citizen: A non-U.S. citizen accused of a crime will not be granted bail and will usually have an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold placed on them.
- Threat to the public: If the judge has any reason to believe the defendant is a threat to public safety, bail will likely be denied.