The judge sets bail according to several factors including how serious the crimes charged are and what kind of criminal history the defendant has. The amount set for bail can also range greatly. Generally, for a misdemeanor, the bail will range from $0 to $5,000. On a first arrest, the defendant can expect to be released with low bail or even no bail (ROR). Even a defendant with a prior criminal history has a chance of being ROR’ed, but his attorney will have to present a convincing argument to the judge.
For felony cases, the bail amounts are usually set much higher than those in misdemeanor cases. For the most serious felonies, judges may refuse to set any bail. This is known as remand. For less serious felonies, the judge may set bail anywhere from $1,500 to $25,000. For defendants with a criminal record, the bail can range up to $250,000 and more.
The two most common forms of bail are cash bail and bail bond. Cash bail requires that the entire amount be paid in all cash. The advantage of a cash bail is that it can be paid immediately so that the defendant can be released right after the arraignment. The cash bail will be returned, minus a fee, given that the defendant returns to all his court dates. The con is that if the defendant does not return to court, the cash will all be forfeited to the city.
Bail bonds do not require an all cash payment. Instead, a bail bond is secured by having a bail bond company pay for the release of the defendant. When the bail bond company pays the defendant’s bail, that company guarantees the defendant’s presence at all his future court dates. Usually, bail companies will charge 10% of the bail bond sum as a fee for their services before they post the entire bail bond to the court. This fee will not be returned. Bail companies may also request a cash deposit for them to hold, and also that several people guarantee the reimburse the bail company of the defendant fails to return to court. By using the bail bond, the defendant will usually have to wait in jail for the bail company to pay his or her bail.