When you or a loved one is arrested your first question may be: can we get him or her out jail. The answer in most cases is yes, but it may not be in your best interest to do so right away. While there will almost always be a bail amount you can post to have them released, it may be hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than you would pay if you wait until a bail hearing can be held.
Am I eligible for a bail bond?
Indiana’s Constitution gives everyone charged with a crime, except those charged with Murder, a right to bail. However, this right to a bail bond only means an initial bond. If a person violates the terms of their bail bond or if they are arrested on a parole or probation violation they may be held in jail without a bail bond until the matter is resolved.
How much will the bond be for a misdemeanor or felony?
While the Indiana Constitution ensures the right to bail, it does not say how much that bail must be. It only says that the bail cannot be “excessive.” What amounts to an excessive bail in a particular case is largely left to the “sound discretion of the trial court.” That means that the judge you appear before will have a lot of power to determine to how much it will cost to get out of jail.
Many counties and courts use guidelines to help determine what bail should be. Courts commonly consider what level of crime a person is charged with, what kind of crime it is (nonviolent v. violent), and the person’s criminal history. For instance, a person who is arrested in Marion County for a Level 6 Felony (what use to be called a D Felony) can expect that his or her initial bond will be $2,500 surety. However, at a bond review hearing the judge can drop that amount to $0 and release the person on their own recognizance or raise it to $5,000 if there are aggravating factors.
There are some factors that all courts are required to consider when setting bail. Those are:
(1) the length and character of the defendant’s residence in the community;
(2) the defendant’s employment status and history and his ability to give bail;
(3) the defendant’s family ties and relationships;
(4) the defendant’s character, reputation, habits, and mental condition;
(5) the defendant’s criminal or juvenile record, insofar as it demonstrates instability and a disdain for the court’s authority to bring him to trial;
(6) the defendant’s previous record in not responding to court appearances when required or with respect to flight to avoid criminal prosecution;
(7) the nature and gravity of the offense and the potential penalty faced, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance;
(8) the source of funds or property to be used to post bail or to pay a premium, insofar as it affects the risk of nonappearance;
(9) that the defendant is a foreign national who is unlawfully present in the United States under federal immigration law; and
(10) any other factors, including any evidence of instability and a disdain for authority, which might indicate that the defendant might not recognize and adhere to the authority of the court to bring him to trial.
Should I post bond right away or should I wait for a bond review?
Whether to post bond right away or wait for a bond review will probably be one of your first big questions when beginning the criminal process. It is not always any easy question to answer and it is probably something you would want to ask an attorney if you consult one.
Some things you should keep in mind are, your resources, the crime the person is charged with, and how much it will cost to provide quality representation for the person arrested. Many crimes have long term consequences. You may have to conserve your resources to make sure you can fight those charges. A short jail stay at the beginning of the case may prevent a long prison sentence at the end.
For a free consultation on bond issues or any other criminal matter, contact Attorney Andrew Riedle at (317)377-4435.