Bail Defined and Explained
The money a defendant pays as a guarantee that he or she will show up in court at a later date.4 min read
The money a defendant pays as a guarantee that he or she will show up in court at a later date. For most serious crimes a judge or magistrate sets bail during an arraignment, or in federal court at a detention hearing.
By bail is understood sureties, given according to law, to insure the appearance of a party in court. The persons who become surety are called bail. Sometimes the term is applied, with a want of exactness, to the security given by a defendant, in order to obtain a stay of execution, after judgment, in civil cases., Bail is either civil or criminal.
Civil bail is that which is entered in civil cases, and is common or special bail below or bail above.
Common bail is a formal entry of fictitious sureties in the proper office of the court, which is called filing. common bail to the action. It is in the same form as special bail, but differs from it in this, that the sureties are merely fictitious, as John Doe and Richard Roe: it has, consequently, none of, the incidents of special bail. It is allowed to the defendant only when he has been discharged from arrest without bail, and it is necessary in such cases to perfect the appearance of the defendant.
Special bail is an undertaking by one or more persons for another, before some officer or court properly authorized for that purpose, that he shall appear at a certain time and place, to answer a certain charge to be exhibited against him. The essential qualification to enable a person to become bail, are that he must be,
1. a freeholder or housekeeper;
2. liable to the ordinary process of the court
3. capable of entering into a contract; and
4. able to pay the amount for which he becomes responsible.
He must be a freeholder or housekeeper. He must be subject to the ordinary process of the court; and a person privileged from arrest, either permanently or temporarily, will not be taken. He must be competent to enter into a contract; a feme covert, an infant, or a person non compos mentis, cannot therefore become bail.