Bail is set as a financial incentive to ensure a person charged with a crime attends all of their court dates if they’re let out of custody. When someone pays bail to the court clerk, it’s held until the defendant’s case comes to a close – regardless of whether they’re found guilty or not. After that, the money (minus any relevant court fees) is returned by the courts.
In some cases, a person who is unable to afford bail might have to remain in custody until their court case is resolved. If bail is set higher than you can afford, you might be able to get it lowered at a bail hearing. A judge is required to take a person’s financial status into account when setting bail, and people of little means can often have their bail reduced significantly.
Whether or not a person’s bail will be reduced will depend on more than the defendant’s financial situation. The judge will also consider the severity of the crime the defendant is being charged with as well as whether or not they feel that the defendant is a flight risk. Provided the crime isn’t a serious felony or violent crime, and if the judge has little reason to believe they might skip bail once released, they may lower the bail amount.
When someone is unable to afford bail no matter what, they will likely have to wait in jail until their court date. Everyone is entitled to the right to a fair and speedy trial by the US Constitution, but it can still take a few months before a court case is resolved.
This is why bail bond agents’ services are so critical. When you work with a bail bondsman, you can get someone out of jail for only a fraction of the cost of their total bail amount. Additionally, bail bonds can be posted any time of day or night, any day of the year.