Why Is Bail Sometimes High?

If a loved one has recently been arrested and you want to bail them out, then you may be concerned about the cost of bail. This is a real concern for many individuals, especially if they do not have a lot of money saved. This is one reason why it may be a wise choice to use a bail bond business. If you are wondering why the bail may be high in the first place, keep reading to learn about a few reasons.

The Judge May Be Following a Bail Schedule

Judges will often use a variety of tools before they set bail. To keep bail amounts relatively consistent and fair among all defendants, most courts will use something called a bail schedule as a guide. This is like the starting point for bail and it lists bail amounts for each crime. Each county or state court may have its own schedule or one may be followed that details federal bail suggestions. 

Bail schedules will often look a lot like worksheets where the bail is based on a set of factors that raise the bail amount. The bail starts at a set level, but may be raised by several hundred or several thousand dollars based on seriousness, past offenses, and whether or not the charge is a felony or misdemeanor. The involvement of weapons, drugs, violence, and extensive property damage can increase the bail as well.

For example, a basic arson charge may carry a base bail amount of $50,000. If the arson involved the injury of another person then it may be raised to over $200,000. If the structure was inhabited then the bail will go up even more, and this is true for each individual extenuating circumstance. 

Keep in mind that judges will use the seriousness of the crime when setting bail, but the amount will not be raised to a ridiculous level. For example, a bail of $1,000,000 is highly unlikely for most charges.

Flight Risks

In general, bail is meant to ensure that the individual comes back to the courthouse for the trial. It is meant as a deterrent to keep the defendant from fleeing or simply not showing up when they are supposed to. As a result, it only makes sense an individual who is a flight risk will have a higher bail amount than someone who is not.

People who are flight risks are individuals who do not have a family nearby, who do not have a job, and who are facing a significant amount of time in jail. 

Additionally, if someone has friends or relatives in another country, or if their country of origin is outside the United States, then the person may return to their country. In some cases, the court will ask the defendant to forfeit their passport instead of setting a high bail.