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When someone is arrested for a criminal offense when the courts are closed, they can ask for bail so they don’t have to stay at the police station.  The purpose of bail is to make sure that a person accused of a crime will come to court for proceedings related to their case after they are released from jail or from being held at a police station.  The bail magistrate sets either bail or personal recognizance.  They consider the following factors when deciding on bail:

Determining factors. When first setting bail, the bail magistrate considers the type of crime the defendant is accused of committing and the potential penalty, or sentence, for that crime. The bail magistrate will also determine if the defendant:

  • is a flight risk
  • has a Board of Probation (BOP) record or other criminal records
  • has a history of defaults – in other words, if the defendant has a history of not showing up when they’re supposed to be at court

The bail magistrate will also take into account whether or not the defendant is:

  • on probation or parole, or has other open cases
  • from the area or has family in the area
  • employed

When bail is posted to the bail magistrate, the defendant will get a receipt.  In order to have bail returned, you must bring the blue receipt and picture identification to the criminal clerk’s office in the courthouse that issued the receipt. The bail can only be returned to the individual who signed for the bail. If the receipt is lost, go to the clerk’s office and ask if there is an alternative for having the bail returned.


See also Bail BasicsRules Governing Persons Authorized to Admit to Bail Out of Court

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