What Determines the Cost of Bail?
Should an individual find themselves arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada, they may find they have questions regarding the sum of their bail. Bail regulations vary from state to state and county to county. They may find that their bail is set higher than they expect, which can cause confusion, frustration, and horror for anyone in police custody. While an individual cannot obtain bail in Las Vegas until they have been booked and processed into one of the area’s detention facilities, the waiting game ensues and answers are needed!
A defendant arrested for a misdemeanor will likely know their bail amount immediately because of the bail schedule for Clark County. Once bail has been set, a defendant can pay cash themselves, or contact a family member or a reputable bail bonds agent for assistance. The process may take longer if the crime is a felony, as some felonies require bond hearings.
For various types of offenses, there is a standard bail based on the charged offense, and so bail amounts are largely fixed based on the type of crime allegedly committed by the defendant. In most misdemeanor cases, the bond amount is the standard amount for that specific crime. If law enforcement officials, i.e., the arresting or booking officer choose to, they can go before the judge and request that they assign a different bail amount.
In all serious cases, (for example a murder or kidnapping charge) the judge sets the bail. Factors such as the defendants’ criminal history as well as the details surrounding the accusation will likely be taken into consideration when setting bail. For example, if a defendant has one or more prior serious or violent felony convictions, that would be a determining factor in the sum of the bail set. The defendant and the district attorney may speak to the judge regarding what they consider an appropriate amount for the bond.
Clark County has a standard bail schedule that determines bail amounts for felonies and misdemeanors. The bail for common misdemeanors is $1,000, however, there are various exceptions. For example, bail for a misdemeanor DUI is set at $2,000 and for a second DUI arrest, the bail increases to $5,000. However, standard bail amounts differ based on local jurisdiction, and the specifics of each case can affect the bail sum.
Clark County’s standard bail policy assigns the following bail sums to these three basic types of crimes: Common misdemeanors are $1,000. Gross misdemeanors are $2,000. Felony charges range from $5,000 to $20,000.
There are certain misdemeanor crimes that come with a higher bail sum. For example, domestic violence and battery are misdemeanor charges in Nevada but have a bail requirement of $3,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense, and $15,000 for a third and for any subsequent offenses. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a misdemeanor in Nevada, but standard bail is set at $2,000 instead of $1,000 for a first offense and a second offense typically increases the bail to $5,000.
Bail is set at the judge’s discretion during the arraignment proceedings.
Possession of marijuana exceeding one ounce is a misdemeanor for both first and second offenses, and usually receives the standard bail amount of $1,000. The court will typically consider third and subsequent offenses to be gross misdemeanors or even felonies, which will increase the bail amount. If the defendant is charged with intent to distribute that would categorize it as a class-D felony, which has a standard bail of $5,000.
The actual bail can differ from the standard bail sum, based on a judge’s decision regarding whether to set the bail sum in open court. The details of the arrest, the defendant’s criminal history, and the seriousness of the crime alleged can all affect the judge’s decision. In some situations, the law requires a higher than standard bail. For example, in the state of Nevada, bail is automatically doubled if a deadly weapon was involved, if the crime was committed on public school property, or if the victim was 60 years of age or older.
The arrest and bail bond process can be confusing to those unfamiliar with them. If you need help with bail in Las Vegas, 8-Ball Bail Bonds is a good place to start!