Understanding the Bail Reform Debate
Posting bail releases those charged with a crime until their court date. Bail allows people precious time with family, to continue working, and to plan a defense strategy with their attorney. How a judge determines bail depends on several factors, including the type of criminal charge. Critics of bail are calling for reform, citing it as unfair for people with low income or who live in poverty.
Proponents point to the original intent of bail—assuring court appearances—as necessary for the court system to work properly. Understanding the bail reform debate requires further understanding of how the bail system protects those charged with a crime and the public. It also requires a closer look at the 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Purpose of Bail
When a judge allows bail for someone accused of a crime, the decision benefits the person charged and the already crowded jail system. The decision is based upon factors such as:
- The severity of the crime
- The person’s past criminal history
- The flight risk of the accused
A bail bond company, such as 8 Ball Bail Bonds, provides the court with a bond. The bond is similar to a check and is only cashed by the court if the defendant fails to make their court appearance. Nevada law requires that bail is set at 15 percent; no more, no less.
Failure to appear results in a warrant for the defendant’s arrest, and a bounty hunter is retained to return the defendant to the court system. The cosigner for the defendant’s bail is then responsible for any fees.
Bail laws contain safeguards designed to hold dangerous criminals until their court date. For example, defendants charged with murder or any other capitol offences are typically denied bail.
Release on Own Recognizance
A judge may allow a defendant to be released based upon their own recognizance (OR). This simply means that a defendant is not charged bail and promises to return for their court date. For this to occur, the judge must decide if the defendant is a flight risk and a danger to the public. OR release is usually only applied for cases involving minor crimes.
The 8th Amendment, Reform, and the Bail Business
The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects defendants from excessive bail amounts and from cruel and unusual punishment. This federal protection serves as a safeguard against the very concerns expressed by proponents of bail reform.
A recent attempt to implementing risk assessment tools as part of the bail bond process in Nevada courts resulted in the following:
- Within one year, the courts experienced a 125 percent increase in failures to appear.
- Within the same year, new crimes committed while on bail increased 100 percent.
- There was no change in the average daily jail population numbers.
The use of risk assessment tools proved unsuccessful in achieving the success reform proponents expected. Not only was the trial use of risk assessment tools a failure—it led to large increases in crime and fugitives.
Bail companies provide an important service to those seeking release from jail until their court date. Companies work with defendants, the court system, and when someone fails to appear, local law enforcement. Employees at 8-Ball Bail Bonds know how to navigate the release process and provide a sense of relief to those seeking to return home.
8 Ball Bail Bonds
Calls for bail bond reform will most likely continue, however state and federal laws, along with the 8th amendment, remain in place. These current laws protect citizens from excessive bail and help guide judges when deciding bail for a defendant.
If you’ve been arrested in Las Vegas, contact us. Our professional and highly experienced team will work to secure your release as soon as possible. Don’t trust your bond with just anyone. Let 8-Ball Bail Bonds represent you so you can return home to your family.