The United States law requires the court system to observe standard procedures following the arrest of a suspect; otherwise the case may be dismissed.
One of the standard procedures required by law that is also perceived as the right of any one accused of a crime to have is the bail bond hearing or arraignment.
What It Is
The bail bond hearing or arraignment is where the judge decides whether the defendant may or may not be granted bail. This is also the time that the judge sets the amount for the bail. There are a number of factors that go into the judge’s decision, including the defendant’s previous criminal record, the severity of the crime he or she is currently charged with, the potential dangers he or she poses to society if freed, as well as the risk that the defendant will flee.
There are times when a judge will deny bail, or set it at the high end of what is allowed legally to be charged, making it near impossible for the defendant to afford to pay it. In this case, the defendant has no other recourse but to stay in detention while waiting for his or her scheduled hearing.
When It Happens
The bail bond hearing is held within 48 hours after the accused is arrested for his or her crime. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees to protect the accused from excessively high bond amounts with the formats provided as to the maximum and minimum amount that can be charged for specific offenses.
In case the judge sets a really high bail, the accused can lodge a new bond request which will go before the judge who will be hearing the trial, during which he or she will be asked to reconsider or modify the bond.
In Case of Modifications
The defendant has to pay the new bail amount in the event that the judge agrees to modify or change the original bond decision. If the defendant can afford the new bail amount, he or she can pay for it; however, in case the accused still cannot meet bail, he or she can opt to solicit the aid of a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman or bail agent charges a fee based on a percentage of the bail amount for their services.
Purpose of Bail Bonds
The bail money is used to guarantee that the accused will show up for future court proceedings. If he or she does appear, the bond money will be returned to him or the bail bondsman who put up the amount. However, if the defendant skips bail, the bail bondsman has the responsibility of hiring a fugitive recovery agent, more commonly known as a bounty hunter, to locate and apprehend the accused within a period of time prescribed by the court; otherwise, the bail money is forfeited to the court.