What Determines the Price of Freedom?

Bail amounts can range anywhere from the tens to the millions of dollars. Heather Brown at WCCO Minneapolis describes two good examples.

“Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson was out of jail Monday afternoon after posting $20,000 bail. He allegedly assaulted another man, leaving him in critical condition.

But Neal Zumberge is still behind bars a week after he was charged with the murder of his neighbor. The New Brighton man was not able to make his $1.5 million bail.”

A murder charge, obviously, carries more penalty and a higher bail amount than assault. Nevertheless, it’s important for a judge to avoid excessive bail charges, regardless of the nature of the offense. This begs the question: “How is bail determined?”

how is bail determined

Nature of the crime, as it turns out, is just one of many factors that influence bail amount. Between Accused A with a history of theft and Accused B with assault staining his record, who will be charged a higher bail? Everything is determined on a case-by-case basis, with such factors as mental health, ties with the community, previous criminal records, and personal lifestyle given weight.

However, bail is more or less based on a standard bail schedule, which can vary by district. For example, in Dallas County, a first-time offense that merits time in the state jail would usually get a standard bail amount of $500. This is called a state jail felony and includes firearm theft, livestock theft worth up to $20,000, and property theft involving goods worth between $1,500 and $20,000.

Bail amount increases with the seriousness of the crime and number of priors. Committing the same misdemeanor more than twice will require a bond of $15,000. Dallas-Fort Worth area residents who need to post bail and cannot come up with the amount on their own can resort to Euless, TX bail bonds from reliable bond agents like Just Bail Bonds.

While bail schedules serve as a guideline for bail amounts, these are not cut-and-dried figures. Ultimately, the judge will decide the final amount based on the factors discussed above.

However, those who want to get out of jail the quickest way possible can work with a Euless, TX bail bonds agent as soon as they are arrested. These bondsmen can make the necessary arrangements to post bail for the accused without waiting for a bail hearing.

Defendants must keep in mind however that bails paid prior to a hearing are based on bail schedules. A bail hearing may eventually result in a lesser charge, or a lower bail amount.

(Source: Good Question: How Is Bail Determined? WCCO, May 13, 2014)

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