How Bail Amount is Calculated: A Breakdown

Posting bail does not necessarily mean that the defendant is guilty; bail is not a payment for settlement or a form of blood money. The very purpose of bail is just to make sure that the accused will show up for court dates after being held in jail by law enforcers. This is a form of insurance that the defendant will appear in court for further proceedings.

How is bail set? What are the common factors that add up to its monetary value? They are a lot and most of them take notice of the defendant’s records. First, the bail magistrate must look at the accused’s criminal records, or if he/she is listed in the Board of Probation’s watchlist. By this, the bail magistrate can postulate if the person is a flight risk. Previous criminal records will also show if the accused is a perennial defaulter, meaning, he or she has a history of repeatedly no-showing up for court dates.


The bail magistrate also takes note if the accused had standing cases or they are on probation or parole. It also, a bit advantageous for the accused to be a resident of the area or has a family member residing in the area.

Other factors include the ability of the accused to pay for the amount like if he/she is employed.

It is also worth noting that every state has different parameters in financially calculating bail value. However, what was given above are the most common. An offense that is non-domestic or non-felony has bail bonds that are set within 48 hours upon release. Some can even set the bail right after arrest. This is mostly depending on the severity of the offense. There are also particular cases that will further determine the bail—a great example of this is domestic violence. If the release of the defendant will further endanger the accuser, certain adjustments must be made.

The bail set by the bail magistrate is a recommendation, not a final one. A judge could adjust the value when it is too high or too low. The judge will also further review the set bail in his or her volition, though typically the adjustments are made because of the accused’s financial status.

There are several crimes that are not allowed to have bails like major felony charges. Defaults related to a different offense will also hinder bailing process because the defendant should pay the bail of its previous case on top of the current case.

Bail is almost always to be paid in full amount. There are cases that it is allowed to pay the bail in installment or just a fraction of it initially. Bail can also be paid in non-cash forms like property or other forms of collateral should the defendant is not able to produce cash for it. If the defendant does not have anything of value that could be set as bail, then it is time for a bail bondsman to act as a surety to pay the bail in place of the defendant. The defendant then pays the bail bondsman a certain percentage that is required by the former.