No one desires to be put in jail, and after being placed in police custody, and the first thing on ones mind would be to be released immediately. After an arrest, bail is your best friend. Bail is paid to the court to guarantee the presence of the defendant in the court on his or her court date. This is paid with cash, a bond, or property and in the event that the defendant does not show up there is a warrant issued for their arrest, and the bail is kept by the court.
Some jails have bail schedules that will list estimated bail amounts and their corresponding crime. This is to avoid waiting to see a judge to have your bail set and have the opportunity to be released sooner than anticipated. If the amount listed on the bail schedule is paid on behalf of the arrested party, they are able to be released from the jail quickly. Depending on the crime and the state’s protocols, a defendant may have the ability to ask that the bail be lowered if it cannot be afforded. This request would be made at the arraignment, or at a special bond hearing.
If a defendant wants to post bail but can’t afford the amount required by the bail schedule, that person is able to ask a judge to lower the bail. Based on the laws of that state, a request can be made at either the arraignment, or at a special bond hearing.
There have been times where bail has been set extremely high to keep a suspect in jail as long as possible. While this has not been ruled as unconstitutional, it is sometimes used as a method to punish someone that is suspected of committing a crime, which is protected by the Eighth Amendment, which requires that bail not be extreme. Bail is set so that the person suspected of a crime is allowed freedom until there is a conviction, but also used as collateral to ensure their presence in court. So there is no need for an excessive bail amount in a possibly innocent individual.
There are conditions of bail sometimes set upon the release of a suspect, if this is violated a judge is able to withdraw bail and have the person arrested again and placed back in police custody. Speak with an experienced Decatur criminal lawyer to ensure that the stipulations of your bail are met and understood.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and getting out of jail.