The bail system, one that is in place across the United States, allows recently incarcerated individuals to post a specific amount of money in exchange for their freedom as they await trial. But while the money goes to the hands of the court system for a period of time, it is meant to only act as collateral, and can generally be fully retrieved once the trial has commenced. Of course, doing so takes a few steps, and anyone wishing to get their bail money back should perform the following measures:

Show Up for the Trial

The whole point of the bail system is to allow those sitting in jail the ability to live freely up until their trial begins. The bail money is a form of collateral, and it is held to ensure the return of the incarcerated. Naturally, anyone that posts bail has the ability to flee in hopes of avoiding the legal proceedings, but doing so will not only permanently relinquish the cash over to the court, as well as give the criminal justice system further reason to see this person as a flight risk in the future. Considering this, the first step in receiving bail money back is by simply showing up for the court proceedings, whenever they may be scheduled.

Stay Through the Whole Trial

Depending on the allegations, as well as the schedule of the court, the trial for a defendant may take only a single afternoon, or last up to a few days or even a week. And while you may wish to avoid a conviction by abandoning the trial before the sentence is passed, doing this will once again sacrifice the bail money, and will lead to harsher penalties in the future if once again incarcerated. To make sure that you see your money once again, stick around for the entirety of the trial, including the sentencing portion.

How Long Can You Be Out on Bail?

Bail is usually granted on the guarantee that the accused will not defy it and escape the bounds of law. Bail is granted by the police or the court, when the accused promises to show up in the court for subsequent hearings of his or her case. Thus, the bail lasts for as long as the accused is cooperative and has a strong backing of supportive family or friends who can vouch for him. Each bail differs in its particulars pertaining to how long the accused can stay out on bail or how much bail amount is he or she supposed to pay.

Judges are usually responsible for setting a bail amount. Many people want to get out of jail quickly and easily, without wanting to do their time. So, courts have a system of prioritizing who gets a bail hearing and who does not. Most courts have assigned amounts for bail depending on the intensity of the crime committed. If a suspect wants to post bail but cannot afford the account required, he or she can ask the judge to lower it. The judge, on the other hand, reviews the suspect’s situation and assesses whether he or she is eligible for a lower amount and who can guarantee the payment of the amount as well his presence in court at desired times.

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that bail be set to a tolerable amount, not one that is too excessive. This means that bail should not be used to raise money for the government or for any other private gains or commissions. The purpose of bail is to allow the suspect to remain free until convicted of a crime.

Bailed-out suspects have to comply with all conditions of release, which include regular visits to local police authorities and appearing for court hearings. If these conditions are violated, the judge can revoke the bail and order the suspect to be re-arrested. In such a case, the suspect might be not be eligible for another bail.

The suspect who wants bail often has to give a surety to the court that he will not revoke the conditions of his bail and will comply fully. The defendant commonly requests a release on his or her own recognizance. Defendants who have strong ties to the community are less likely to run away and are given bail more easily than others.

Bail is usually issued for a time pre-determined by the court and the defendant by a series of negotiations between lawyers representing both. What the defendant deems appropriate bail time, might not be so for the court. It also depends on the conditions in which the defendant requires bail. If there is medical emergency or death in his or her immediate family, then the bail is arranged immediately and might be longer. If it is a matter of the defendant’s own illness that is beyond the control of the medical assistance provided by the court, then the defendant’s doctor must give a timeline of the treatment and regular updates to the court.

The time frame of the bail also depends on the state the defendant resides in. In most states the time period ranges from 90 to 120 days. This can vary depending on the seriousness of the offence the defendant has committed and his criminal record. The more respectable people vouch for the defendant, the easier it becomes to acquire bail for a longer duration.

Bail duration can vary with the accused, the attorney and the judge and needs to be handled with care and precision. Every option should be explored and every paper should be in place, before the bail plea goes on the floor of the court.

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