Six Things To Expect From A Bail Hearing

Those who are arrested may have the opportunity to be released without bail in some cases. However, other scenarios play out differently, and the person who's been charged with a crime must post bail in order to be released from jail pending trial. If you have been arrested, a bail hearing will be held for the purpose of determining whether you can be released on your own recognizance or whether the court will require bail as a condition of your release. The judge in your bail hearing will take numerous things under consideration when coming to a decision in your case. Following are six of them. 

Your Employment Status

If you have been employed with the same company for a period of time, the judge may see this as a sign that you have significant investment in your community and are less likely to skip bail than your unemployed counterparts.

How Long You've Lived in the Community

If you've only lived in the community for a short period of time—or if you don't live there at all and are just passing through—the judge may consider you to be a bigger flight risk than someone who has established a home in the area. 

Family Ties

The judge will also look at your family ties. For instance, you may be considered less likely to run out on bail if you've got a spouse, children, and a solid network of friends and family in the area. If you're a loner with no established relationships in the community, the judge may feel that you wouldn't have much to lose by leaving the area. 

Your Prior Criminal History 

The judge will also look at any past criminal history that you may have. If you have none and the crime that you've been charged with is relatively minor, you may have a good chance of being released without bail. However, things become more complicated for those with a criminal past. If you have a history of minor crimes that were committed many years ago, the judge may look at your case differently than that of someone whose criminal history is recent, particularly if that person is still on probation or parole. 

The Severity of Your Crime

If you've been charged with a lesser crime and the judge has no reason to believe you may be a flight risk, it's highly possible that you'll be able to negotiate your own release without having to pay bail. The standard bail for petty crimes not involving violence in most jurisdictions is $500, but judges have the power to raise or to lower that amount at their discretion. However, the bail will always be much higher for those charged with violent felonies. 

Substance Abuse History

If you have a significant substance abuse history, the court may require you to post bail as a condition of your release. However, this may be waived if the alleged crime did not involve drugs or alcohol in any way and you were found to have not been under the influence at the time of arrest. Furthermore, if you have completed a mandated substance abuse treatment program, offering proof of this may sway the judge in your favor.

Getting out of jail as soon as possible after you've been arrested is important for those who want to return to their jobs and otherwise get on with their lives. If you're in a position where the bail asked for by the courts is beyond your means, you should consider using the services of a bail bondsman to ensure that your life goes on with as few interruptions as possible. For more information, contact local professionals like Brad's Bail Bonds.