If you have been charged with a crime in Arizona, it is helpful to be familiar with court processes so that you know what to expect. One aspect of your case that might seem confusing is bail. Read on to learn more about how bail could be set and what it means for your case. Of course, consulting with a criminal defense lawyer is the best way to prepare for the proceedings of a criminal case.

When is Bail Set?

Bail is usually set after a suspect appears in court for the first time. This is usually an arraignment or a initial appearance hearing. For the most part, judges will stick to bail standard guidelines, with lower amounts aligned with nonviolent petty charges. Judges do have discretion in how they set bail, however. Bail could be waived and the suspect could be released on his or her own recognizance (promise to appear).

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help With Bail?

Although it is not required that you have a lawyer assist you with the bail process, it is prudent to hire a criminal defense lawyer to help you understand the process. Your lawyer can present information for the court to consider that may be able to convince the court that a lower bail amount is appropriate or that bail should not be required at all.

In the harrowing circumstances of being accused of a crime, it can make a big difference whether you have retained an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you with your case. Not only does it relieve a lot of your fears in the process, but it might make life easier in the long run for you and your family is bail is not required.

How Do Bail Amounts Vary?

As you might suspect, bail amounts depend on the seriousness of the alleged crime and on an individual’s flight risk. Whether bail is set and the amount it is set for also depends on the past record of the accused individual and sometimes whether or not the charged person has connections and ties to the community.

Bail for felonies can be much higher than for cases involving misdemeanors. In general, the bail for such charges can be as high as ten times the bail usually set for a misdemeanor. A judge considers all of this information along with other details about the accused individual to arrive at a decision about the proper bail amount. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the perspective of the judge when it comes to bail in order to prepare effectively for a bail hearing.

Be Aware- Police Practices Could Influence Your Bail

A lot of power is given to the arresting officer.  The arresting officer prepares the information that the judge will review at the time of the bail hearing.  Also, the arresting officer determines the charges for which an individual is arrested and as a result the seriousness of the charges for which bail is determined.  Often times, the charges the police arrest an individual for are not the charges for which they are ultimately charged.  However, the bail will be set based on the charges for which you are arrested.   Bail conditions can re-evaluated even after they have been set by a judge if certain conditions are met.  It is important to seek the advice of counsel at every phase of a criminal case, including bail/bond determination and modification.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.