If you aren’t familiar with how bail bonds work, that’s okay. Many people out there don’t know the in’s and out’s of the entire process, so they may ask themselves, “What does bail do?”. One thing is for sure. There’s a lot more to it than people think.
The criminal justice system will always have it’s flaws, and some people say that additional bail reform may be in order. What do you think? Do laws need to be amended in order to get a better degree of justice to be served? Hopefully after reading this article, you can understand why bail is allowed in the United States.
What Bail Does
- Gives a person an opportunity to secure legal representation.
- Allows a person to fulfill their responsibilities to their community, family, and employer.
- Provides a person the opportunity to gather evidence for their legal case.
Throughout the years, there have been several pieces of legislation enacted that have taken us to where we currently stand with bail as a legal right. Basically, bail allows a person to be freed from jail while they are waiting to have their day in court. It gives them the opportunity to secure legal representation, fulfill their obligations to society/family/employer, and gather evidence on their behalf for their upcoming legal battle.
If Bail Helps People with Little Money, Will it Help Violent Criminals?
A common belief among the U.S. population regarding the criminal justice system, is that it discriminates against the poor. The bail system has been reformed over the years, primarily in the 60’s, to make it easier on those with small or subsidized incomes to free themselves or their family members from jail.
Unfortunately, it also allowed a majority of defendants, regardless of income, get freed from incarceration a lot easier as well.
I’m sure that you can see the catch-22 here. If we make bail more accessible to those who have financial hardships, we also make it more accessible to those who don’t.
Many people would argue that there needs to be more of a balance and that those with little to no income have to prove, in some way, that they are in fact “poor.”
Striking a Balance
A bail bondsman comes into play in circumstances where the bail amount is set at a sum that the defendant’s family can’t easily pay. After all, not too many people have an extra $1,000 lying around just in case someone gets arrested and needs bail. A bondsman will charge around 10% of the total bail amount as their fee. An Atlanta bail agent my charge up to 15% according to Georgia law. This money is non-refundable, but serves as a sort of short term loan on the co-signer’s behalf.
When a defendant has either a lengthy criminal history or the current allegations are of a violent nature, then bail may be denied altogether. These factors are taken into consideration and addressed during the defendant’s initial bond hearing. Giving the judge the power to use his or her discretion helps keep violent offenders off the streets.
So, what do you think? Does there need to be more done in the way of bail reform?