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How do judges set bail?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

When law enforcement arrests a person for a crime, the person will need to get bail set by a judge to get out. The concept of bail is to provide some security the person will show up for his or her court hearing. The idea is that a person has to pay money or put up collateral that they will lose if they do not show up to court.

Setting bail is up to the judge at the bail hearing. Texas law sets some rules for how the judge will determine the amount. It also allows a judge to decide not to set bail in certain circumstances.

The charges

One of the biggest influences on setting bail is the charges you face. More severe crimes or situations will result in higher bail amounts. Violent crimes typically will have the highest bail and may also be cases where the judge refuses to set bail. It is up to the judge to make sure that the person will return to court, especially for these serious cases, and that releasing the person will not be dangerous for the public.

The criminal history

A judge will also look at your past criminal history. If you have a long list of past convictions, it will play against you in this situation. The judge will consider if you are at risk of offending again since this would put public safety in jeopardy if you were to get out on bail.

In general, the judge will set a higher bail when there is a good chance you will not come back to court when scheduled or if you have a high likelihood of getting into more trouble after your release.