The United States Constitution offers a lot of protection when it comes to criminal matters. The Fourth Amendment protects you against illegal searches and seizures. The Fifth Amendment offers criminal defendants the right to not testify at trial. And, the Eighth Amendment offers protection from excessive bail.
After you’re arrested, a judge will hold something called a bail hearing. At this hearing, the judge will look at all the information provided by both the prosecutor and your criminal lawyer. He’ll decide if bail is warranted. And, if it is, he’ll decide how much bail is required to get you released from prison.
Judges will grant bail in most cases. It’s rare that a defendant will be denied bail all together. A few factors may cause a judge to deny bail:
- The seriousness of the crime
- Defendant’s extensive criminal record
- History of missing court dates in the past
- No permanent address
- Definite flight risk
If you meet these criteria, there is a chance that you’ll be denied bail all together. However, chances are, you will get bail. The amount will depend on the judge.
If Your Bail Is Too High, You May Need a Greenville Bail Bondsman
At your bail hearing, you’ll find out if the prosecutor is willing to allow bail or not. He may ask the judge to deny bail if the crime is very serious. Or, he may ask that bail be set so high that it may as well have been denied. The judge will look at the factors outlined above when determining bail. The more serious your crime, the higher your bail will be. That is the general rule. Of course, other things can influence bail as well.
According to the 8th Amendment, bail is required to be set at a reasonable amount. The purpose of bail is not to punish you. It is intended to motivate you to show up for your court date. The court just wants to make sure you aren’t going to flee and avoid trial.
If a judge sets bail at an amount that is disproportionate to your crime, your attorney will file a motion to reduce bail. Your attorney will argue the following:
- You have no criminal record
- You have worked at the same job for several years
- You’ve shown up for every other court date in the past
- You have young children at home and have no intention of leaving town
- Your crime is minor
- You have lived at the same address for years
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the judge may agree to reduce bail. If he doesn’t, your attorney can appeal the matter later. For the time being, however, you will want to contact a Greenville bail bondsman.
Will a Bail Bondsman in Greenville, South Carolina Post Your Bond?
While you’re waiting for your attorney to file an appeal regarding your bail, you need to get out of jail. The best way to do this is to have your criminal lawyer contact a bail bondsman in Greenville, South Carolina.
A bail bondsman will be able to post bond on your behalf. You’ll have to offer a certain amount of collateral in exchange for his services. You’ll also have to pay a fee to the bail bondsman. This fee is usually 10% of the bond. You won’t get this money back. If your lawyer is able to get your bond reduced, you’ll have to make arrangements with your bail agent to adjust the fee.
How Important Is Posting Bail?
Even if you believe your bail is too high, you will probably want to pay it. The alternative is sitting in jail until your trial date. That could be months or even a year away. The last thing you’ll want to do is sit in jail all that time. You won’t be able to work and may lose your job. You won’t get to see your family.
The purpose behind the 8th Amendment protection against excessive bail is to guarantee you freedom pending trial. When you’re arrested, you are only charged with a crime. You haven’t yet been convicted. So, until you are convicted, you are presumed innocent. An innocent person should not be stuck in jail. You should be home with your family. Enjoy whatever time you have until your trial date.
One great thing about bail bondsmen is that they can help you when nobody else can. Very few of us have family or friends who are able or willing to put up thousands of dollars in bail. For a fee, a bail agent is willing to do this.