The Process of Setting Bail and Why Bail is So High?
Most times when we hear about a multimillion dollar bond, our first thoughts automatically go towards murder or other heinous crimes. Individuals who are charged with first degree felonies rarely have a bail set simply due to the nature of their crimes.
A person is given a large bail amount, it means that the court has reason to believe that they are a high flight risk. The reason bail is offered is to allow the defendant to resume their daily routine until their scheduled court date. If a judge believes that the person charged with the crime does not intend to appear to fulfill their obligations to the court, they may set the bail extremely high, or in some cases, offer no chance for bail at all.
A person is less likely to post a large amount of bond money for someone they know will not appear for court. If the defendant misses their court date, the co-signer will forfeit any bond paid to bail them out of jail. A co-signer who puts a house or vehicle up for collateral to cover the bond, stands to lose the property if the defendant jumps bail to avoid going to jail.
The following two circumstances are excellent examples as to why bail is set so high in many cases.
- Jeffrey Gordon Butler was charged with 874 felony counts and is currently on trial in Santa Ana. He allegedly cheated over 100 elderly men and women out of a very large amount of cash. Because he was considered a “flight risk” he has been held in jail on a $10 million bond since 2006.
- Chu Vue was a former sheriff's deputy in Sacramento County who was believed to have taken part in a murder for hire scheme to kill a prison guard he believed was having an affair with his wife. His $500,000 bail was 10 times the normal amount of they type of weapons charges he was facing. At this time, only the weapons charges have been filed.
Both cases reflect circumstances where defendants have been charged with serious criminal offenses. Part of the reason their bail is so high is that with the nature of their charges and the uncertainty as to how much prison time they may be facing, there is an extremely high risk that they could fee before their court date arrives.
The most common reason for a judge to order a high bail amount is level of flight risk for the defendant. There are also several other factors a judge will consider when determining bail. They include:
- Risk of flight out of the country
- Danger to the community – Defendants who have an extensive history of violent behavior or is considered by the court to be a repeat or habitual offender, may be denied bail to protect the public.
- Seriousness of the crime – If the consequences of the crime includes mandatory jail or prison time and the payment of large fines, the defendant may be considered a flight risk.
A judge can go over and above what the pre-determined bail amounts are, if they have reason to believe the defendant is a flight risk or is a danger to others. Even with excessively high bail amounts, a co-signer with the right amount of cash will be able to bail a person out of jail. If a person is being held in jail on $10 million bond, a co-signer would have to put a $1 million to obtain their release. Not everyone can come up with that kind of cash.
The problem with paying that $1 million in bail can be a problem if the defendant fails to make their court appearance. If the defendant skips on bail, the $1 million quickly turns back into $10 million, which means the co-signer needs to come up with the remainder.
Large amounts of bail require time, hard work and a large amount of risk for both the co-signer as well as the bail bonds agent and his company. Before a bail bond agent will write an exorbitantly high bail bond, the will want to verify that the co-signer has access to the entire bail amount, not just the 10 percent bail premium. Background checks must be performed and funds verified, before the bail bond contract is ever written.
When it comes to bonds larger than $100,000, it can be extremely hard to find just one person who will cover the entire amount and allow their money to be tied up for the duration of the court case. If a person is willing to take the risk, they are more than likely going to closely monitor the defendants' every move. Call S & H Bail Bonds today at 800-500-7090 if you have questions about large bail bonds and how they affect you.
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