8 Factors Judges Consider When Determining Bail Amounts

If you find yourself in custody after making some regrettable decisions, you probably look forward to getting out as soon as possible. Before that happens, however, you or a loved one must post the required bail amount. The state of Nevada sets most bail amounts based on a standard bail schedule. However, some cases require a bail hearing to set your bail amount.

During your bail hearing, the judge will determine whether to increase or decrease your bail amount based on arguments from the prosecution and your defense attorney. Based on the facts of the case, the judge may even deny bail altogether or release you on your own recognizance. The judge will also consider other factors when setting your bail amount. Here are a few potential factors they’ll use.

1. Nature and Circumstances of the Offense

Outside of the state’s bail schedule, the nature and severity of the charges you face will have a sizable impact on your bail amount. Judges often exercise a vast amount of latitude with setting bail amounts. Generally, you can expect the bail amount to increase in proportion to the severity of the crime.

Certain crimes, including violent felony offenses, will always guarantee a high bail amount or even an order remanding you until the day of your trial.

2. Criminal Background

Having a prior criminal history can work against you in most instances. However, the judge may consider the severity of the non-expunged offenses listed as well as the recentness of those offenses. If the latest arrest or conviction on your criminal record occurred years or even decades ago, you’ll have a better chance of getting a reasonable bail amount than someone with an active and lengthy criminal record.

The lack of a prior criminal history works best in your favor. However, you shouldn’t worry much about one or two mistakes affecting the outcome of your bail hearing, especially if you’ve maintained a good character since then.

3. Community Ties and Reputation

The judge will also consider your history beyond the court system. Your overall reputation in the community can majorly impact your likelihood of receiving a lenient bail amount or release on your own recognizance. Being an active, upstanding member of your community is a strong advantage, whereas negative notoriety can prove damaging.

Moral character can be a highly subjective quality to judge, hence why the judge may hear testimony from friends, family, and important members of the community. Having strong ties to the community can also help your bail chances since having lifelong friends and family in the area reduces the likelihood of a bail skip.

4. Finances and Employment

Your finances and employment history may also factor into the judge’s decision concerning your bail amount. Your prospects for freedom may improve if you’re gainfully employed and have a solid, steady work history.

Depending on your income level and other financial factors, the judge may set your bail according to your ability to pay. As a result, you could end up with a very low bond amount or even a conditional release. Having a sizable income or wealthy friends and relatives, however, may ensure that your bail amount increases significantly.

5. Previous Failures to Appear

The last thing any judge wants is to grant bail to a defendant, only for that person to become a no-show for their next hearing. If you’ve failed to show up for previous court dates or have a criminal history that indicates a propensity for bail skipping, you could wind up with a steep bail amount or no bail at all.

Remember that skipping bail can have some serious consequences. Not only will you forfeit your bail bond, but the courts will also issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Your bail company may also hire bail enforcement agents, better known as bounty hunters, to track down your whereabouts and return you to the court’s custody.

6. History of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Most judges will also take your mental state into account, as well as any prior or ongoing issues with substance abuse. The severity of said mental illness or substance abuse and the role both played in the crime in question can have an impact on one’s bail status.

7. Current Probation or Parole Status

If you are already on probation or parole at the time of your arrest, you may have more to worry about than just your bail amount. In most cases, the judge may deny bail once he or she becomes aware of your probationary status. Being arrested while you’re on probation or parole could also constitute a violation of your release conditions.

8. Potential Danger to the Public

Defendants deemed a threat to the community’s safety may be held without bail. This usually happens in cases where a serious felony involving violence or sexual assault has occurred or substantial evidence of guilt exists.

After the judge has set your bail, turn to All Star Bail Bonds and post your bail bond as quickly as possible. Contact us whenever you or a loved one are in need of the services our professionals offer.

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