How do Bail and Bonds Work in Arizona?
Getting out on bail is a common refrain in America, and there are many misconceptions about the bail and bond process. What is bail and how is it different than bonds? What qualifies someone for bail? How expensive is it? How long can someone be “out on bail”? All these questions will be explored and answered under Arizona criminal law. It is important to have a criminal defense lawyer to argue for the least onerous release conditions, including lower bond amounts that will ensure a person’s appearance for trial.
What is the Difference Between Bail and Bonds?
Bail and bonds are both financial tools used to temporarily release someone from jail before or during trial. Bail is usually paid in the form of money but can also be collateral such as property of equivalent value pledged to the court. The purpose of bail is to allow the accused to go home rather than being in jail or prison, but ensuring their appearance in court. The consequences for not appearing in court after posting bail can be severe, including seizure of pledged money and issuing of an arrest warrant. However, if the defendant posts bail and successfully appears back in court, their bail money will be returned to them.
Bonds, otherwise known as bail bonds are issued by surety companies known as bondsmen. Bail bonds save the defendant money, and without them, many defendants could not post bail. This is because bail is often set quite high by judges, and defendants can rarely afford to pay the full cash value of their bail. This is where bail bonds come in to provide the money to the court for the defendant’s release, usually only requiring 10% of the cash value up front from the defendant.
Qualifications for Bail and Bonds
According to A.R.S. 13-3967 bail is usually available to every defendant, as most crimes and situations are “bailable as a matter of right.” This is not a blanket rule however, as some crimes are deemed so severe or defendants too risky for bail to be allowed. Some crimes that usually don’t allow bail include sexual assault, terrorism, or capital offenses. There is a special type of evidentiary hearing that someone is entitled to if the state makes a request to hold someone non-bondable. It is important to have an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who can handle these types of hearings effectively, to give you the best chance to stay out of custody while awaiting trial.
How is the Amount of Bail Set?
Once someone is qualified for bail, it is then up to the judge or magistrate to set the amount of bail and its length. When the judge makes this determination they consider the following factors, among others:
- Views of victim
- Nature and circumstances of the offense charged
- Evidence of prior arrests or convictions for serious offenses
- Evidence of danger against the community
- Weight of evidence against the accused
- Family, employment and financial resources
In essence, the judge determines whether the defendant is a flight risk or alternatively, someone that would reasonably be expected to honor the terms and conditions of bail. Using these factors, the judge can modify the dollar amount for the bail that must be posted before the defendant can be released from jail. The amount can greatly value based on all the factors present, it ranges anywhere from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Get Your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney to Fight Your Charges
If you need assistance with bail bond in Phoenix or throughout Arizona, we recommend Sanctuary Bail Bonds. Disclaimer: The Litwak Law Group receives no financial compensation from Sanctuary Bail Bonds.
Litwak Law Group’s criminal defense attorneys pride themselves on fighting aggressively and professionally for the constitutional rights and freedoms of their clients. Should you be charged with a crime in Arizona, contact Litwak Law Group today. We regularly fight to get our clients out of custody if they are awaiting trial and have previously received release conditions with enormous bond requirements.