Behind Bars: Understanding the Differences between Felony & Misdemeanor Bail Bonds
When someone is arrested and charged with a crime, they may be eligible for release from jail before their trial by posting bail. Bail is a sum of money or property that a defendant can offer as collateral to guarantee their appearance in court. However, the amount of required bail is based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.
In the US, crimes are typically divided into felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the most severe crimes, such as rape, murder, and robbery, and are punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. On the other hand, misdemeanors are less serious offenses, such as disorderly conduct, traffic violations, and petty theft, and are typically punishable by less than one year in jail.
Regarding bail, there are different procedures and rules for felony and misdemeanor cases. Felony bail bonds are typically more expensive than misdemeanor bail bonds, with much higher potential penalties. Moreover, the defendant charged with felonies is considered a higher flight risk and may be subject to stricter bail conditions.
Differences between Felony and Misdemeanor Bail Bonds
Understanding the differences between felony and misdemeanor bail bonds is vital for anyone who is in a situation where they require to post bail. Having knowledge of potential outcomes allows defendants and their loved ones to make informed choices and enhance the likelihood of pre-release trials.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the differences between felony and misdemeanor bail bonds and explore the key differences between the two. The discussion will cover factors affecting bail bonds, types of bail bonds, and further conditions defendants may face while out on bail.
Knowing bail options can help protect rights and fight charges, regardless of the severity of the offense.
Felony Bail Bonds:
A felony charge is a severe criminal offense typically punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, fines, or both. Felony bail bonds are considered more potent than misdemeanors, which are minor criminal offenses. For example, felony charges involve rape, murder, robbery, trafficking, drug, and white-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement.
Felony charges are typically classified into different degrees or levels, depending on the severity of the crime. First-degree felonies are the most serious and carry the highest penalties, well lower-degree felonies may carry lesser penalties.
Aside from imprisonment and fines, felonies can cause loss of rights, for example, voting, firearm possession, and certain professional licenses. Felony convictions can also negatively impact an individual’s future employment prospects and ability to obtain loans or credit.
How bail is determined for felony charges?
Bail is the amount of money that an accused person must post as a guarantee to ensure their appearance at future court proceedings. In the case of felony charges, which are more severe crimes, bail is typically set higher than for misdemeanor charges.
When determining bail for felony charges, a judge will consider several factors. These include the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, flight risk, ties to the community, and whether the defendant poses a danger to themselves or others. The judge will also consider mitigating or aggravating circumstances related to the crime.
In some jurisdictions, bail schedules may outline specific amounts for different felony charges. However, judges can deviate from these schedules if they feel it is essential.
Once bail is set, the defendant or their representative can post the bail amount in property, cash, or through a bail bond. If the defendant appears at all scheduled cost proceedings, the bail will be returned to them or the person who posted it. If the defendant fails to appear, the bail will be forfeited, and a warrant may be issued for the arrest.
Understanding types of collateral, felony charges, and their corresponding bail amounts:
Collateral is something that is pledged as security for a bail bond. Regarding felony bail bonds, the amount of collateral required is typically higher than for misdemeanor charges.
Types of collateral for felony bail bonds include real estate, jewelry, vehicles, stocks and bonds, and cash. The exact type and amount of collateral required may vary from bond to bond, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.
Examples of felony charges and their corresponding bail amounts can vary widely depending on the jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances. However, some common examples include the following:
Bail amounts for murder charges can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars; it depends on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history.
Bail amounts for drug trafficking charges range from a few thousand to various hundred thousand dollars, depending on the quantity and type of drugs involved.
Bail amounts for aggravated assault charges range from a few thousand to ten thousand dollars. These charges vary, based on the severity of the injuries inflicted and the defendant’s criminal history.
Bail amounts for burglary charges range from a few thousand to ten thousand dollars, depending on the value of the stolen property and the defendant’s criminal history.
Misdemeanor Bail Bonds:
A misdemeanor charge is a criminal offense less serious than a felony but more severe than a simple violation or infraction. Misdemeanor Bail Bonds typically carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine, although the specifics can vary by jurisdiction and the particular offense. Common misdemeanors include petty theft, driving under the influence (DUI), disorderly conduct, and simple assault.
While less severe than felonies, misdemeanor charges can still have significant consequences. These encompass criminal records, restrictions on certain privileges and rights, and difficulties with housing, employment, and other aspects of life.
How bail is determined for misdemeanor charges?
A magistrate or judge typically determines bail for misdemeanor charges during an initial court arraignment or appearance. The judge will consider several factors when setting bail, which include the following:
- the defendant’s criminal history
- the severity of the offense
- the likelihood that the defendant will pose
- lee a danger to the community.
The judge may also consider the defendant’s ties to the community and their ability to pay the bail amount. Once the bail is set, the defendant or their family can either pay the total amount or hire a bail bond agent who will typically charge a non-refundable fee of 10%.
Understanding types of collateral, Misdemeanor charges, and their corresponding bail amounts:
Misdemeanor bail bonds are needed for individuals accused of less serious crimes. The type of collateral that may be required for a misdemeanor bail bond varies depending on the jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances. Common types of collateral include real estate, personal property, and cash.
Examples of misdemeanor charges and their corresponding bail amounts vary based on the jurisdiction, but here are some examples:
- Simple assault: Bail may range from $500 to $2,500.
- Petty theft: Bail may range from $500 to $1,500.
- Disorderly conduct: Bail may range from $250 to $1,000.
- DUI/DWI: Bail may range from $500 to $2,500.
- Trespassing: Bail may range from $250 to $1,000.
- Reckless driving: Bail may range from $500 to $1,500.
- Possession of marijuana: Bail may range from $500 to $2,500.
- Domestic violence: Bail may range from $1,000 to $5,000
It is essential to note that bail amounts and charges may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and the jurisdiction in which the patient is being heard.
How is a felony different from a misdemeanor?
Bail bonds are a means of securing the release of a defendant from jail while they await trial. The primary difference between felony and misdemeanor bail bonds is the severity of the crime committed. Felony crimes are typically more severe than misdemeanors and can result in longer jail sentences and higher bail amounts.
As a result, felony bail bonds tend to be more expensive than misdemeanor bonds. Additionally, obtaining a felony bail bond may be more complex, requiring more paperwork and a longer approval process. Misdemeanor bail bonds are generally more straightforward to get, with lower bail amounts and less strict requirements for approval.
Wrapping it up!
In conclusion, understanding the differences between felony and misdemeanor bail bonds is crucial for anyone behind bars. Bail bonds can provide a lifeline for those incapable of affording bail, allowing them to return home and continue working on their defense. However, navigating the legal system can be complex, and choosing the right bail bond agent is essential.
By educating yourself on the differences between felony and misdemeanor charges, you can make informed decisions about the type of bail bond right for you. Don’t let being behind bars hold you back. With the correct information and support, you can work towards securing your freedom and moving forward with your life.