Release, Bail & Bond

What is bail? Is bail different that a bond? How do you get released on bond? How do I post bail? What is a bail bond? These are all good questions, especially when someone you care about has been arrested, is in custody and you want to get them out.

A person who is accused or charged with a crime is called a defendant in the criminal justice system. When a defendant is charged with a crime and brought before the Court, the Court will normally set release conditions for most crimes. The Court wants to make sure that the defendant will appear at future court proceedings. A defendant’s release may be as simple as a promise to appear, also known as being released on one’s own recognizance, which is often referred to as “OR.” The court may also require a defendant to secure release by posting a bond.

The Court considers two main factors when deciding release conditions. The first factor the Court considers is whether or not the defendant poses a flight risk. In other words, is there a risk that the accused may flee and not show up on the scheduled court date. The second factor the Court considers is the danger the defendant may pose to the community. The judge considers this in light of the crime that the defendant has been accused of, the manner in which it was committed and things like the defendant’s prior criminal history./

What is Bond?The words bond and bail are often used interchangeably. Bond is money or property that is deposited with the court to ensure that the Defendant will return to court when required to do so. If the defendant returns to court as required, the bond will be returned at the end of the case. This is true even in the event that the defendant is convicted. However, should the defendant fail to return to court when required or violate the release conditions, the bond may be forfeited to the court.

The Law Behind Release and BondThe United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution establish bail for those accused of crimes. Despite the accusations and charges against a Defendant, it is important not to lose focus on the fact that a Defendant is presumed innocent. The law requires that bail should not be excessive.

In Arizona the Court may consider the following factors when deciding the bond amount.

  • The character and reputation of the defendant
  • The ties the defendant has to the community
  • The criminal history, if any, of the defendant
  • The nature and gravity of the offense(s) charged The measure of punishment being faced
  • The financial resources and assets of the defendant Other relevant facts

A lawyer can be extremely valuable in securing your release or substantially reducing the bond after it is originally set.