Understanding Bail: Bail Hearings
Recently, the founders of classified website Backpage.com were arrested and accused of conspiring to derive profits from prostitution via classified ads on the site. Due to the nature of their alleged crime, a judge ordered initially that they be held without bail. However, on Wednesday, October 12th, the judge at their arraignment set a date for a bail hearing to determine whether the two suspects would be eligible for bail.
Typically, bail is set pursuant to the bail schedule in the county where the person is arrested. Once bail has been set, it’s possible to obtain the release of an inmate via bail bond. The majority of arrestees will have bail set at the police station and be eligible for release via bail bond shortly after their arrest. However, in some cases, bail is initially withheld and a hearing is scheduled to determine whether or not the defendant is eligible.
At a bail hearing, the defense attorney will be able to go before the judge and argue in favor of setting bail for the defendant. It’s important to note that the judge will not be hearing arguments as to whether or not the defendant is guilty; only if the circumstances call for bail to be set.
The deciding factor regarding whether or not to set bail is the danger to the community posed by the defendant. If a judge feels that the defendant’s release would be dangerous to others, bail will be withheld. Provided that the defendant is not deemed a danger to the community, the judge will consider other factors, such as the defendant’s risk of flight. Once the determination has been made, the judge will decide to raise, lower, or keep bail the same as stated on the county bail schedule, or if the defendant is eligible for another option for release.