You don’t plan on needing a bail bond, and you cannot anticipate when friends or family members will ask you to help them get one. But if you find yourself in that scenario, you need to know what to expect.
Bail amounts vary, depending on the charges associated with the bail. So, even if you know how bail worked in one circumstance, the same rules might not apply again.
In this scenario, you might wonder how the courts set bail for specific crimes or how much bail a certain criminal charge usually warrants. This blog answers these questions so you feel informed before you pay bail or arrange for a bail bond.
Standard Bail in Las Vegas
The principle “the punishment should fit the crime” applies not only to convictions but also to bail. The 8th amendment to the US Constitution protects people against excessive bail charges. The court cannot set a bail amount that does not match the severity of the crime.
For example, the court system considers charges of auto theft more serious than a first DUI charge. Therefore, the auto theft charge must have a higher standard bail than the DUI.
To comply with the 8th amendment and be consistent with bail amounts, the Clark County court system has set standard bail figure s. Standard bail is the amount of bail the court usually sets for a specific crime. The category of crime determines the standard bail.
The standard bail amounts in Las Vegas are:
- Most misdemeanors: $1,000
- Gross misdemeanors: $2,000
- Felonies: $5,000 to $20,000 (depending on felony category)
Some serious criminal charges have no standard bail; instead, a judge sets bail for these charges on a case-by-case basis. These charges include murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery with intent to commit sexual assault.
Standard Bail for Common Criminal Charges
If you or someone you know needs bail, you should probably know the standard bail for the criminal charges. Let’s review some common criminal charges and the standard bail associated with these crimes in Clark County, Nevada.
Nevada law classifies battery and domestic violence as misdemeanors, but these crimes have a higher standard bail than other misdemeanors. These charges have a standard bail of $3,000. Charges for a second instance of battery or domestic violence carry a standard b ail of $5,000.
For a third battery or domestic violence charge, the bail amount rises significantly. Standard bail in such cases costs $15,000. That amount is also the standard bail for domestic violence that involves significant bodily harm to another person, even if it the first offense.
You should also know that anyone arrested on charges of battery or domestic violence must stay in jail for a minimum of 12 hours. Even if that person posts bail or arranges a bail bond soon after the arrest, he or she must remain in custody until the 12-hour period lapses.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor offense too, but the standard bail costs $2,000, not $1,000. For a second offense, the bail is usually set at $5,000.
Sometimes DUI charges accompany more serious circumstances, such as significant bodily harm to another person or even death. In these cases, there is no standard bail. Instead, a judge sets bail during the first court appearance.
Possession of Marijuana
An arrest for marijuana possession falls under the misdemeanor classification. The misdemeanor label applies to both the first and second offense, as long as the amount of marijuana involved is one ounce or less. Such a charge usually warrants standard bail for a misdemeanor, which is $1,000.
The court usually considers subsequent marijuana possession charges (third charge and after) as either gross misdemeanors or felonies. The repeated charges allow the court to set higher bail. Similarly, a judge may set higher bail for charges involving more than one ounce of marijuana. The greater the amount of marijuana involved, the higher the bail could potentially be set.
If intent to sell is part of the charge, bail will also be set higher. The intent to sell charge makes it a Class D felony charge. Class D felonies have a standard bail of $5,000.
Bail That Varies from Standard Bail
The standard bail amounts listed here may differ from actual bail set in court. Judges have discretionary powers to set bail at different amounts if they deem necessary. The circumstances of the arrest, prior criminal charges, severity of the crime, and other factors can influence a judge to set a non-standard bail amount.
Sometimes the law requires higher bail amounts. For example, standard bail costs twice the normal amount in crimes that involve deadly weapons, crimes on public school property, and crimes with victims who are 60 or older, to name a few.
You Can Navigate Bail and Bail Bonds
Don’t let bail bonds confuse you-if you know standard bail amounts, you’ve armed yourself with information. If you need to help someone post bail, you now have a better understanding of why bail is set at certain amounts and what to expect. This information should make you feel confident enough to interact with police officers and bail bondsmen.