The court has a responsibility to set a reasonable amount of bail for the accused. Unfortunately, the amount that is set is sometimes more than he or she can afford, which could mean spending weeks or months in jail awaiting a resolution to the criminal case. If your family member has been given an unaffordable bail amount, here is what you need to know.
Can Your Family Member File a Motion to Reduce Bail?
Your family member can choose to wait until his or her criminal case is resolved or take action to get his or her bail lowered. The defense attorney can file a request for a bail hearing to review the amount that was set in the hopes that it is lowered.
During the bail hearing, the attorney can ask the judge to not just focus on the crime that was committed, but to also consider your family member's background. It also gives the attorney a chance to provide the judge with details about the case that was unknown. For instance, if your family member's assault charge was the result of self-defense, the judge might be willing to lower the bail amount.
A bail hearing also gives the attorney a chance to present letters from family, friends, and members of the community that support your family member's release. By painting a better picture of your family member, the attorney can possibly convince the judge to reduce the bail.
What If the Judge Rejects the Motion to Lower the Bail?
What happens after the motion to reduce bail is denied by the judge depends largely on the state in which you live. In some states, the results of the hearing are final. In other words, your family member cannot appeal the decision of the court and has to pay the bail amount required.
In other states, the denial can be appealed. However, this is sometimes dependent on whether or not the state law requires that the ruling be final to appeal. Some states do not allow the ruling to be final until the entire criminal case is resolved. If that is the case in your state, you would still be faced with paying the higher bail amount if you want to be released before trial.
Since laws can vary by county and state, consult with legal professionals, such as an attorney and bail bondsman, to fully explore your family member's options for dealing with a higher than expected bail amount. A company such as Pat's Bonding can give you more information.