How Are Bail Amounts Determined?

Bail is an amount set by police or criminal courts designed to guarantee the cooperation of the defendant. The defendant can choose to pay bail, which will be returned to them if they attend their hearings. They can also choose not to pay bail and be detained until their hearing.

Once bail is set, the defendant can pay with cash or Montgomery County bail bonds. Depending on the amount, some collateral may be required if bail bonds are used. Bail is usually decided in a hearing and is determined by several factors.

Type of Crime

The nature of the crime plays a large role in determining the amount of bail. More serious crimes have larger bails where minor crimes, such as misdemeanors, have smaller bails. One method of determining bail by crime committed is based on the maximum sentence length for said crime. 

Flight Risk

The purpose of bail is to grant the defendant freedom until their trial. Paying bail helps guarantee that the defendant will return for hearings. If the court feels that a person is a flight risk, meaning they will attempt to flee and not attend their trial, they may have a higher bail. A person can be considered a flight risk if they have a history of missing hearings, have ties to other countries or if there is a significant amount of evidence against them.

Risk to Community

If a criminal is likely to commit violent crimes or otherwise endanger others, their bail may be increased. A person can be considered a danger to the community if they committed a violent crime or have a history of violent behavior.

Bail amounts are determined based on the type of crime committed, if the person is a flight risk and whether they are a risk to the community. If a defendant’s bail is low, they are more likely to be able to pay it in exchange for freedom until their trial.