If you’re ever arrested in the state of Nevada, depending on the severity of the crime you may be offered bail. If the amount is small, you or a loved one can post the bail, and you can leave the jail. However, if you are either awaiting trial or do not believe the bail amount is fair, or if your lawyer believes you can be released on your own recognizance, you will be granted a bail hearing.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about your bail hearing, including how to prepare.
What Exactly Is a Bail Hearing?
If you’re awaiting a trial, cannot afford bail or your attorney believes you have a good chance to be released on your own recognizance, a bail hearing will be scheduled. During this hearing, the judge will take several factors into consideration before determining if the original bail amount stands, if it will be lowered or if you will be granted bail.
Your guilt or innocence is not being determined during the bail hearing. Instead, the judge will look at your character and history to make a simple decision: whether or not you can be trusted to appear at your future hearings.
How Is My Bail Amount Determined?
In the state of Nevada, your original bail amount is based upon a strict standard schedule. Basically, if you are accused of a particular crime, your bail amount is already pre-determined. For example, if you are accused of a misdemeanor in the state of Nevada, such as trespassing, petit theft, vandalism or resisting arrest, your bail will most likely be $1,000.
The more severe the charges, the higher the bail amount will be.
Can I Get My Bail Reduced?
If your lawyer believes your bail amount could be lessened or you could be released without having to pay bail, the bail hearing will allow your attorney to make a case for leniency. The court will take several factors into consideration before reducing your bail or letting you leave on your own recognizance, which means you will not need to pay bail, including:
- Past offenses. Your past criminal history will have a huge impact on whether you are granted bail or whether your bail is lowered. For example, if this is your first offense, the judge might be more lenient.
- Finances. If you have a sizeable income or your family is wealthy, the judge might not lower your bail or even grant you bail at all. The court may believe that because you have access to money, you are a bigger flight risk.
- Ties to your community. The judge will look at your standing in your community, as well. For example, if you have lived in the same town and are well-respected, this will work in your favor.
- Potential danger to the public. Finally, if you are charged with a violent or serious crime, the court will be less likely to lower your bail.
If your bail is reduced, and you still cannot pay the amount in full, your best option is to contact a bail bondsman.
What Happens in the Court Room?
The entire bail hearing will happen very quickly, so it is important to know what to expect. Once again, the purpose of the hearing isn’t to determine your guilt or innocence. Instead, you, your attorney and a prosecutor will appear before the judge. Your attorney will provide several reasons why your bail should be lowered, such as your strength of character and ties to the community.
The prosecution, on the other hand, will argue for reasons why your bail should not be lowered, or they will agree with your attorney that a lower bail amount, or your release on your own recognizance, is acceptable.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Prepare?
As a defendant, your best option is to ask friends and family to help you prepare for the bail hearing. For example, your loved ones can gather documentation that supports your attorney’s claim that you are not a flight risk and are a person of upstanding character.
This documentation could be anything from your exemplary work history to paperwork that shows you have volunteered for several local organizations.
While you are in the courtroom, it is critical that you behave in a respectful manner. When the bailiff calls your case, quickly and quietly meet your attorney. Stand next to him or her, and only speak when spoken to. For example, if the judge asks you a question, answer in a humble tone. Do not speak out of turn or act belligerently.
Maintaining eye contact with the judge, standing up straight and knowing when you can speak are three easy things you can do to show the court you take your offense seriously, which can help your case.
If you are granted bail, it is time to take the next step. Do not try to raise the funds on your own. Instead, if you cannot afford to pay the entire amount up-front, contact the professionals at All Star Bail Bonds.