When a judge sets bail when you have been charged with a crime, there are a number of reasons for this. You are expected to show up in court for all court dates and bail is a way to ensure that you make it back into court. If you don't show up for your next court date and you have paid bail, you can end up forfeiting your bail amount to the court. Your bail amount will depend on the seriousness of the crime you are charged with, your criminal history if you have one, whether you have a job, and whether you have close ties to the area you live in. When your crime is serious and you have a criminal history, the judge can even deny bail and hold you in jail until your next court appearance.
The Seriousness of the Alleged Crime
Bail is set based on the severity of the crime you are charged with. When you have serious charges to face, your bail will be high. When you use a bail bonds company to secure your release, the bond company will have the right to find you and detain you if you don't show up for your court date to get their bail money back. Once you are detained, you will still have to face the same charges and can also be charged with bail jumping.
Whether You Have Ties to the Area
If you have family that lives in town and if you are well connected in your community, your bail should reflect this. For example, consider two people who are charged with the same crime. One has family, children, and is involved in a variety of organizations throughout town. The other individual doesn't have a local address and has family living in another country. The person with ties to the area will likely see a lower bail, as the second person is considered more of a flight risk.
When You Have a Job
Bail is also determined based on whether you have a job or not. If the judge believes that you will continue working while waiting for your trial, your bail can be set to reflect that you have a job. Being a productive member of society, it's important to maintain your employment while dealing with the criminal charges.
If you have a history of criminal charges and you haven't seemed to learn from your mistakes, a judge can set your bail higher to make you take your charges more seriously.
For more information to understand your bail amount and what your options are, talk with a criminal defense attorney in your area.