Bail - Indiana Criminal Litigation Process
If criminal charges are filed, a judge will typically issue an Arrest Warrant authorizing the police to bring an individual into court to answer for the charges. Sometimes, as part of that process, that person will be released on his or her own promise to return to court. However, usually, the judge will set a bail amount. Bail is used as a method to ensure that a Defendant will return to court as needed until the resolution of his or her case.
The most typical type of bail is what is called a "Surety Bond." When a judge sets a Surety Bond, the Defendant must pay a bondsman ten percent of the bond amount in exchange for the bondsman's promise that he or she will find the Defendant should the Defendant fail to appear in Court. For example, a $30,000 Surety Bond means that a Defendant would have to pay a non-refundable fee of $3,000 to a bondsman in order to be released from jail pending the resolution of his or her case.
There are two primary considerations that a court reviews when setting a bail amount: First, whether the Defendant will return to court as directed. Second, whether the Defendant will commit another crime, and is therefore a danger to the community. In some circumstances, a judge sets a bail amount that is beyond what a Defendant can afford to pay. When this occurs, it is sometimes appropriate to have the Judge review the set amount of bail in an effort to have it reduced. If so, by presenting additional evidence to the Judge regarding the Defendant's ties to the community such as family, home ownership, employment, etc., a skilled criminal defense attorney can sometimes convince a Judge to lower a bail amount to something more affordable, thus allowing a defendant to resolve his or her case without being incarcerated prior to the resolution of the matter.