What’s the Purpose of Bail?

What’s the Purpose of Bail?

The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that a defendant appears in court and answers for the alleged crime. To understand how this works, let us first discuss the initial stages of the criminal justice process. When someone is arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, they may be held in jail while their case is pending. Because they are in police custody, it is easier for law enforcement officials to make sure that the defendant shows up in court as scheduled. If they were not being held in jail, it would be more difficult to ascertain their whereabouts and ensure their appearance in court.

In a way, bail helps overcome the challenges present when someone is free while awaiting trial. When a defendant pays bail, they are released from jail. If they show up for all court dates, their bail money is returned to them. Essentially, the defendant is incentivized to answer for the alleged crime because they get back the thousands of dollars they paid for their release. If they do not appear in court, the bail money is not returned, which means they are out whatever they paid to be free from police custody.

Aside from ensuring that the defendant appears in court, bail can serve several other purposes. In this blog, we will explore these further.

Removing Restrictions from Someone Presumed Innocent

When someone is accused of a crime, they are considered innocent unless or until the government can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are being held in jail while awaiting trial, it is like they are being punished even though they are presumed innocent. It is unfair for anyone to suffer restrictions or penalties when they have not been shown to have done anything wrong.

In a way, bail remedies the injustices of holding an innocent person in jail.

Facing the Accuser at a Public Trial

Under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, persons accused of crimes have the right to public trial heard by an impartial jury. During this trial, the defendant can face and cross-examine their accuser.

If the defendant is free while their case is pending but does not return to court, they are not truly exercising their constitutional rights. When they are incentivized to stand trial – or go through any part of the criminal justice process (as some cases might not go to trial) – they can question the witnesses and defend their innocence.

Continuing to Carry Out Responsibilities

Paying bail and being free from custody affords the defendant various personal benefits. For instance, they are not limited to seeing friends and family members only during visiting hours. Having unfettered access to loved ones can help maintain strong relationships and provide the defendant the support they need throughout this difficult time, which can positively impact their mental well-being.

In addition to allowing the defendant to see friends and family members whenever they would like – unless the court has issued a no contact order as a condition of bail – bail also allows the defendant to carry on with their life. For instance, they will not need to miss work or school, avoiding negative consequences such as job loss.

Getting Help with Bail

Unfortunately, the amount of bail a judge sets can be steep, and the defendant may not have the funds readily available to pay it. They can wait in jail until their case concludes. Or they can reach out to a bail bonds agency that will, for a small premium, post bail on their behalf.

At Andy Callif Bail Bonds, we are dedicated to helping individuals in Columbus seek release from jail and return home as soon as possible. Contact our team at (614) 945-4334 today.

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