Anybody who has ever been arrested knows that bail can be set unreasonably and almost impossibly high. Without a friend or family member to come through, it can be pretty difficult to get out of jail before your trial. Thankfully, it is possible to get your bail reduced. That first number isn’t always set in stone, so call a criminal defense lawyer and get the ball rolling on a bail reduction hearing.
What is Bail?
Bail is basically a measure set in place to allow you to go home before your trial. It’s also a mechanism to ensure you come to trial, so there are limits to reduction. On one hand, it’s great because you don’t have to stay in jail for days, weeks or months on end, but on the other hand, it can be pretty expensive. Whether you’re using a bail bondsman or your own money, bail can get expensive.
What if it’s Too Expensive?
If your bail has been set unreasonably or excessively high, you need to speak with a defense attorney immediately so you can get a bail reduction hearing. Even though you’ve been arrested and you’re in jail, you still have rights. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits “excessive bail.” Your attorney can help you request a bail reduction hearing. This is possible under the Bail Reform Act.
Will I have to Stay in Jail?
If you cannot make bail, you will have to stay in jail until your trial or until your case is resolved. That being said, your attorney may be able to get your bail reduction hearing scheduled quickly. You could be out as early as your hearing if the results are favorable. In the meantime, try to give your attorney any additional information that might help your case or get your bail reduced.
The Bail Reform Act
Under the Bail Reform Act, your attorney can help you request a bail reduction hearing and show the court that the initial bail amount was excessive or unreasonably high. The Bail Reform Act basically ensures that the bail is not set so high that the defendant is induced to go to great lengths to raise the funds. The bail amount has to be just, and it’s not meant to make the defendant rot in jail.
The Bail Reduction Hearing
At the Bail Reduction Hearing, the defendant will get a chance to present evidence as to why he or she needs a bail reduction. Your lawyer can help you put your case together. It’s important to note that this is an official court proceeding, and it is possible to incriminate yourself. You and your lawyer should go over everything that’s going to be presented at the bail reduction hearing to ensure nothing will jeopardize your case or upcoming jury trial.
Three Factors That Impact Your Bail
- Are you a flight risk?
- How severe was the initial crime?
- If released, are you a safety risk to the community?
Are You a Flight Risk?
Your lawyer will be able to demonstrate to the court that you’re not a flight risk. This may involve demonstrating your community ties. It may be necessary to bring up your family situation or employment status. Tell your lawyer every reason you have to stay in the city. This can greatly help your case at a bail reduction hearing.
What About the Severity of the Crime?
The severity of the initial crime you’ve been charged with will also have an impact on your bail amount or your ability to get a bail reduction. If you’re facing murder charges, don’t expect to make bail, let alone get a bail reduction. Likewise, if this is your first, non-violent drug offense, you’ve got a pretty good shot. The court takes all of these factors into account.
Are You a Risk to the Community?
Finally, are you a risk to the community? Are you facing violent criminal charges? Is there a strong possibility of additional violence if you’re released due to a lowered bail amount? Your lawyer is going to try incredibly hard to demonstrate that you’re not a safety risk to the community at large.
Call a Lawyer
If you’re facing an excessive bail amount, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. You need somebody local who has experience getting bail amounts reduced for clients. This is just the first step in your case, but it’s an important one. You should be at home with family or back at your job while you wait for your trial date. Contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 today for a case consultation.
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