3 Factors Judges Consider When Setting Bail

3 Factors Judges Consider When Setting Bail

If a friend or a family member has recently been arrested and you find yourself in the position of having to head to the bank, a Montgomery County bail bonds office or another place to procure funds for said individual’s release, you may be wondering exactly how the judge determined the amount set for bail. The Eighth Amendment protects from excessive bail, but judges have a great deal of discretion as to what constitutes “excessive.” There are standards they abide by, but the number may vary from case to case since they have the options of lowering, raising or waiving it completely. They take into account many considerations when deciding on bail.

1. The Severity of the Crime

The amount of bail set by a judge often increases proportionally with the severity of a crime (based on both its nature and extent). For instance, it is likely to be lower for an individual who stole than one who committed murder. A person who shoplifted a tube of lipstick may have to pay less to get out of jail than one who took several hundred dollars from the cash register even though both are technically theft. If the offense is one that may make the person a danger to the public, then this may also result in a hike in bail or even complete denial of it.

2. The Accused’s History

The individual’s past is a major factor, with several parts of it examined in such cases. Judges may look at whether there is a history of mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse, criminal background or poor financial and employment history. Another important factor is whether or not the accused has failed to appear in court before since prior instances of fleeing may indicate that the likelihood of it occurring again is high.

3. The Accused’s Reputation

How well-regarded a person is in a community also factors in. The higher their standing is and the more well-known and respected connections they have, the less likely it is that the judge will see them as a flight risk. This may lead to a lower bail being set.

The amount of bail set is highly dependent on circumstances. The offense itself and the history of the perpetrator play major roles in its determination. In recent years, some courts have also begun to use mathematical algorithms and programs that take these factors and utilize them to provide recommendations.