How Judges Set Bail: The 5 Determining Factors

how judges set bail

As one of the leading bail bond agencies in Michigan, All American Bond Agency understands the financial strain of meeting bail. While having a bond agency in your corner is important, it may be prudent to understand the likelihood of a large bail amount and the conditions that lead to such a decision. Many may feel that judges have all discretion when setting bail amounts, and while that may be true in some instances, they are often guided to their decision by several underlying issues. In fact, judges typically take five factors into account when determining bail.

Seriousness of the Crime

The seriousness of the crime is one of the leading factors guiding judges in their decisions when setting bail. Someone accused of a felony will have to pay more in bail than someone accused of drunken driving. While there are circumstances that can lead to variations in this generalization, such as repeat offenses, a misdemeanor will likely always have a lower bail than a felony offense.

Public Safety

Similar to the seriousness of the crime, if a judge is worried about public safety, they may issue a high bail amount. Therefore, if an individual is accused of some form of radical violence, like murder or terroristic threats, that could be perceived as making the individual a risk to the welfare of their community, then a judge may stipulate a high bail amount.

Criminal History

While most bail amounts are set at fair prices with consideration for socio-economic background of the defendant or accused, criminal history may be weighed more in a bail making decision, especially for repeat violent offenders. However, even repeat misdemeanor offenses can lead to more stringent bail recommendations, especially when the misdemeanor is the same for every arrest. For instance, someone who is repeatedly arrested and charged with a DUI is unlikely to fare well during the setting of bail. However, an individual who has a single past misdemeanor offense may manage just fine because their past charge is not connected or related to their current arrest.

Flight Risk

For individuals with the money and means to travel and who have committed a felony, a judge may find it necessary to deem them a flight risk, setting their bail at abnormally large amounts. While it is true that wealthy people are not the only ones who fall under the flight risk category, they do have the means and capabilities that many others do not. Also, anyone who frequently travels or who has been given bail before and fled will likely receive similar bail amounts. These high amounts are meant to be significant enough to be a strong deterrent from fleeing.

Bail Schedule

Lastly, many judges reference what is known as a bail schedule before making any suggestions or determinations. A bail schedule provides judges with a list of offenses and the standard bail amount for such charges. These amounts are likely unique to the state and county of the arrest, but the bail does vary and is merely a suggested sum. A judge can use their discretion, taking into account a person’s background and financial means.

Whatever the reasoning behind the decision to set bail at a specified amount, you may still require assistance in coming up with the funds. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a significant savings established, and arrests are never something one plans for. Therefore, when you need help meeting either yours or a loved one’s bail, call All American Bond Agency at 1-586-770-7411, one of Michigan’s leading bail bond agencies. Don’t waste another minute, contact us today to ensure that your loved one is back in your arms quickly and lawfully.

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