Bail 101: What You Need to Know

When a defendant is arrested for a crime, the judge presiding over the case has the option to release the defendant on citation, on his own recognizances, or on bail. The most common type of bail bond that is secured from bail bondsmen in Virginia is a surety bond. Here is some helpful information about the bail bonds process.

How the Bail Bond Amount is Set

A judge sets the amount of a bail bond based upon the defendant’s criminal record, the seriousness of the crime of which he’s accused, and his flight risk. A judge may set a high bail in the hopes of keeping a defendant in jail until his case is resolved. If a defendant has strong ties to the community and is accused of a relatively minor crime, a judge may set a low bail. Once bail is set, the defendant must obtain a surety bond from a licensed bail bond agent.

Different Types of Bail Bonds

A defendant’s bail can be paid in a few different ways. A surety bond, also called a bail bond, is obtained from a bail bond agent at a bail bond company. The bail bond agent assumes responsibility for the amount of the defendant’s bail, and assures the court that the defendant will appear at his next hearing. Another common type of bail is a property bond. If a defendant owns property, the court will put a lien on the property in the amount of his bail. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the court will execute on their lien. A defendant can also pay bail directly to the court via cash without going through a bail bondsman.

Conditions of Bail

After setting bail, a judge will outline specific conditions that the defendant must adhere to after being released. If the defendant does not comply with these conditions, the judge will revoke his bail and issue a warrant for his arrest. The conditions that a judge sets depend upon the type of crime that the defendant is accused of committing.