Why Does Bail Exist?
Even if you’ve never been arrested, you know what bail is. If you are charged with a crime, you can give the court a certain amount of money to be allowed to go free. If you show up to your court date, then you get that money back (even if you’re found guilty). If you don’t show up to your court date, though, then the money is forfeit, and a warrant is put out for you. It seems like a simple enough process… but why does bail exist and why do our courts offer it?
3 Reasons Bail Exists
Reason #1: Everyone is Innocent Until Proven Guilty
The cornerstone of the American criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence. Being accused of a crime is not enough to prove you’re guilty. As such, until you have been proven guilty, you should be treated as if you are not (within reason). There are even protections for bail found in the Bill of Rights, and many state governments have gone even further to protect this right. Because bail allows people to keep on living their lives while they await their court date.
Because being accused of a crime is bad enough. Losing your job, your home, and your car because you were kept in jail, and couldn’t work in order to keep up your payments is worse. Especially if it turns out you were not guilty of the crime you were accused of.
Reason #2: Keeping People in Jail is Expensive
From a practical standpoint, bail saves the government money. Regardless of whether or not people who can post bail are guilty or not guilty of the crime they’re accused of, it is expensive to keep them in jail. There’s the cost of food, the cost of personnel, the cost in clothing and utilities, and then there’s the cost in time and space. Because justice doesn’t always move swiftly, it could take a lot of time between when someone is arraigned, and when their court date is set. That’s time these individuals, many of whom may not be guilty, have to be cared for with money from government coffers.
Bail ensures that people who aren’t flight risks can go back to their lives, as long as they put their assets into the care of the court.
Reason #3: It Serves Its Purpose
Bail, as a legal mechanism, is a win-win situation. Those who are accused of a crime are able to plan their defense, and go on living their lives until a verdict is handed down, and the court has some measure of guarantee that defendants will show up for their court dates. The government saves money, since it doesn’t have to feed and house those waiting for trial, and a great deal of glut is pulled out of the jail system.
There are a lot of laws that have good intentions, but which don’t function the way they were intended to. One of the reasons we still have bail is that it has consistently served its purpose, and operated the way everyone needs it to.
What If You Can’t Make Bail?
Having been granted bail, and being able to pay that bail, are two separate things. If you find yourself accused of a crime, and unable to pay your bail, then you need to seek out a bail bonds company for assistance. The way these companies work is they will post the entirety of your bond, but you have to pay them a non-refundable fee. That fee, though, is only a percentage of the total cost of bail, making it more affordable for those accused of crimes who don’t have the resources.
For more information on bail, bail bonds, and what you should do when facing your options, simply contact us at 8-Ball Bail Bonds for 24/7 assistance.