When a person posts bail, they are essentially putting up money to ensure that they appear in court. A failure to appear in court results in the forfeiture of the money. If a person can't pay their bond, they aren't offering anything to make sure they come to court and without a stake there is no incentive to come to court...at least that's the theory behind bond. Many places offer pretrial release programs for people who can't afford to pay the bond amount and otherwise qualify. This is mostly for minor or non violent offenses.
Jail is to hold people until their court dates to ensure that they do not run away from responsibility for their crimes. Bail is a privilege offered to ensure that the accused person comes to court at the appointed hour to face his accusers without having to lose his liberty while awaiting that court date.
bail is set to insure that the defendant appear for all of his/her court hearings. At the close of the case the posted bail is returned, minus whatever service fees are included.
the judge sets what in his opinion is a "reasonable" bail based on numerous factors, including the classificaltion of the offense (misdemeanor or felony), the nature of the offense (i.e., whether it is violent, or the accused is a danger to the community), the criminal history of the accused, the ties to the community, and financial ability to pay, among others.
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