When someone is arrested and going through their bond hearing, a judge has to determine what would be an appropriate bond amount to set to make sure is some type of insurance and incentive for the defendant to show back up for their hearing. When the judge decides this, they will go through a list of criteria to decide what is appropriate. Now you may wonder what those criteria are? Well, let’s discuss that.
One of the first things that a judge will consider when deciding on what to set bond at is whether or not the defendant has any past offenses. Even if there are a few past issues, if they are few and far between a judge may still consider that but if the defendant has a long prior history of getting in trouble with the law, then a judge may either go with a higher bond amount or in some cases deny bail altogether. If this is the defendant’s first offense, the judge will be more likely to show some understanding.
Severity of charge
Another aspect, and arguably the most important criteria the judge considers when setting bond is the severity of the charge. You will often have a low set bond amount if dealing with a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony. If the crime being charged is one that affects the lives of many others and especially one that deals with causing any type of physical harm to others, then the bond amount will typically be much higher.
Threat to the public
Going along with crimes that cause physical harm to others, if the charge against the defendant is particularly violent or if there is a concern for the safety of the public in any way, the judge also reserves the right to deny bail completely and detain the defendant until their arraignment.
This tends to be less common, but another factor the judge considers is if the defendant could be a possible flight risk. If a person has a lot of resources at their disposal and there is a chance that they may flee the state or even the country, then the judge may either create bail conditions in which the defendant is not allowed to travel and has to forfeit their passport or they may also be denied bail.