Bail

Bail is a security deposit that is paid to the city in an exchange for the release of an arrested person.  When a person is released on bail, he makes a promise to return to court.  Bail is usually set by the judge at arraignments.

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.

保釋金是付給市政府的担保費。付了担保費,被逮捕的人就可獲暫時釋放。當一個人被保釋出獄的同時,他也許下了会重返法庭的諾言。保釋金通常是在傳訊時法官設定的。

法官是根據幾個因素來設定保釋金的。設定保釋金的因素是包括:被控訴罪行的輕重及被告的犯罪記錄。保釋設定的金額距離也可以很大。一般來說,對於輕罪,保釋金會是從$ 0到$5,000元。在第一次被捕時,被告可以低保釋金得到釋放,甚至不須要保釋(自簽擔保)(ROR)。如被告的律師可出示一個有說服力的論據來說服法官,即使被告已有犯罪記錄,亦有機會可以自簽擔保(ROR)。

對於重罪案件,保釋金額通常比輕罪案件要高出很多。對於最嚴重的重罪,法官可以拒絕任何保釋。這被稱為還押。對於不太嚴重的重罪,法官將會提出保釋金由1,500元至25,000元。對於已有犯罪記錄的被告,保釋金可高達25萬元及以上。

最常見的兩種保釋條款的形式是現金保釋及保釋債券。現金保釋是以現金一次支付所有的保釋金。現金保釋的優點是,即時用現金支付保釋金數額,被告可在起訴後離開拘留所。只要被告依照開庭日期出席法庭,那減去一定的法院費用後,保釋金將被退回。可是如果被告不依時出席法庭,那保釋金將被市政府全部沒收。如現金週轉是有困難時,可使用保釋債券。

保釋債券是不需要全部現金支付的。相反,保釋金是由保釋債券公司替被告先付。當保釋債券公司替被告支付保釋金時,該公司亦保證了被告人會依時出席法庭。保釋公司通常收取保釋債券的10%作為手續費用,然後將保釋金送到法庭。這10%的手續費將不予退還。保釋公司也會先索取部分現金作為按金。如被告沒有依檔期出席法庭,被告必須負責繳還保釋債券公司的一切費用和他個人的保釋金。如使用保釋債券來作保釋,被告通常都要在拘留所逗留一段時間。因為要等保釋債券公司辦妥一切手續才可離開拘留所。

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