After a defendant has gone through the booking process after an arrest they will have what is called a bond hearing. It’s at this time a judge will hear out the charges and decide if bond should be offered and if so, how much to set the bond at. But how does a judge come to this decision? Well, there are a few things that are taken into consideration. Here are the main criteria.
What the charges are
Probably the biggest factor that a judge will take into consideration is what the defendant is being charged with. If it is something like petty theft or something not as serious in terms of charges, they may even offer personal recognizance which is when you are released without even having to pay a bond but for more severe charges, the cost will likely go up and if it is serious enough they may decline the option of bond altogether.
This is a time when it is really helpful to have a clean record because the judge not only takes into account current charges but former ones as well. This is because it give the judge a better picture on if this was just a one off or if the defendant gets themselves into trouble pretty frequently and could give a hint on whether there is a chance they might flee or if they could potentially cause trouble again while released. If someone has no previous charges, the judge is more willing to believe it is just a lapse in thinking.
Safety of the community
If for any reason a judge might worry that the defendant might be a threat to themselves or others if released they will most likely decline the opportunity for bail. This is because they have a legal and moral duty to keep everyone safe so if there is any hint that someone could be targeted or injured due to letting the defendant go, they will not be willing to take that chance.
The last thing a judge has to think about is whether or not the defendant will flee which is the whole point of bail is to stop. If a defendant has a lot of resources or perhaps lives in another state then there is a higher risk that they may just not return for their court date even if the bond cost is high. If they feel that there is legitimate concern that the defendant will try to run, they may just revoke bail to assure that justice will be served.
In conclusion, the charges alone are not what makes a judge decide what the cost of bond will be but it is a number of factors that they try to look into to offer a fair but effective cost.