Most defendants accused of crimes are entitled to reasonable bail. The initial bail amount is usually a standard amount set by the courts, and determined by the arresting entity at the detention facility. The exact bail amount for each crime committed is published by the courts in the form of a standard bail schedule. It is possible in some cases that a person accused of a crime and arrested will receive an own recognizance (O.R.) release from the detention facility and as a result will not be required to post a bail bond.
Oftentimes, a judge will set the bail amount during a court hearing, such as an arraignment, or the judge will determine whether an own recognizance release is appropriate after considering a number of factors. Some factors a judge will consider at a bail hearing include: the criminal conduct alleged in the complaint or information; any prior criminal convictions the individual may have; any prior failures of the defendant to appear for court appearances when required; the defendant's education level; his/her employment record and current employment status, and family ties to the community.
If the criminal conduct alleged in the complaint or information is of a violent nature, it is very unlikely that the judge will grant an own recognizance release request. If, after considering the above factors, the judge hearing the matter determines that a defendant is likely to be responsible enough to appear in court when his/her presence is required, the judge may grant an own recognizance release, or in the alternative, a reduction in the bail amount.
If the judge establishes a bail amount for a defendant, the bail may be posted by cash or bond, unless the court directs otherwise, at the detention facility. If a person accused of a crime elects to hire a bail bond company to post the bond, the bail bond company will require collateral in the form of cash, credit or some other tangible property, and they will charge fifteen percent (15%) of the total bond amount as the fee for posting the bail on behalf of a defendant. The fee that the bail bond company assesses for posting bail on behalf of an individual will not be returned to the defendant at the time the bond is exonerated by the court ( which usually occurs when the case is closed). If an individual posts the full cash bail amount, the cash bail will be returned to the person who actually posted the cash bail amount, usually upon completion of the case.