When a defendant appears in court at their first hearing after being arrested, which could either be a first appearance or bond hearing, the judge may set bail. If the judge sets bail, the defendant can either post the bail personally, reach out to family or friends, or work with a bail bonds person to secure their release from jail. If the defendant cannot post bail, they will remain in jail until they make bail or until trial. However, several factors will determine whether bail is set and the amount of money required.
In some areas, including Florida, jails have posted bail schedules. These bail schedules explain bail amounts for common crimes so that the defendant can post bail immediately after being arrested and booked. These types of bail schedules are inflexible, and the defendant will not be released until the exact amount is paid. For example, according to the Orange County bail schedule, lewd conduct in a public place has a bail of $1,000. Misdemeanors not listed on the bail schedule have a bail set at $500.
Factors That Influence Bail
If a defendant does not want to pay the amount of their initial bail when they are booked into the jail, they must appear before a judge. In some cases, a judge may order a lower bail than that shown on the bail schedule, but the amount of bail depends on a few factors. A judge may order a higher bail if the defendant has a prior criminal record or is unemployed. Having immediate, dependable family members in the area may lead to a lower bail if the judge believes that the defendant should stay close to family. Even with a bail schedule, a judge may deny bail based on extenuating circumstances. A defendant may have connections out of the country which could indicate to the judge that they may flee before trial. Also, the seriousness of the charge may influence the bail amount.
Police arrest reports are sometimes a factor in the set bail amount. For example, a defendant could be charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a felony, even though they had a small amount of marijuana on them when they were arrested. Even though the charge will most likely be reduced to a misdemeanor possession charge, at the time of the bail hearing, the judge might determine bail based on the more serious charge.
Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Representation
If you or a loved one has been arrested and denied bail, or if bail has been set too high, contact the Khonsari Law Group today to learn what rights you may have. We have the experience necessary to guide you through the legal process and will do everything we can to get you the best possible outcome.