When bail is set, it is not locked in. If your loved one is unable to post bail or if the bail you have posted has caused a financial burden, you may be able to have it lowered at a bail review hearing.
Bail is money used to guarantee that a person who has been arrested will appear in court to answer the charges. When you post bail, you are essentially making a deposit that assures your appearance in court.
If you appear in court as required, you get the money back when your case is concluded even if you are found guilty. If you fail to appear for court, you may forfeit or give up the bail that you posted.
A bail review is a judicial hearing to determine whether the initial bail amount is still appropriate. Bail may be reviewed at several times.
Maryland law sets out a list of factors that a judge will consider when setting bail. A change in bail is generally appropriate when one or more of these items has either changed or was not considered by the judge or commissioner who set the current bail amount.
The law also says no one should remain in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. If you cannot afford the bail set, it may be unreasonable by law.
After a bail review hearing, the judge may lower bail, raise bail or leave the bail unchanged. You will generally know before the hearing if the purpose is to discuss an increase or a decrease in bail. A judge should not increase your bail simply because you asked to lower it.
Common reasons for bail increases include:
Common reasons for bail decreases include:
A bail review is strictly a legal determination about whether the rules for setting bail were followed or whether the circumstances have changed. It is not the time for arguing the facts of the case or determining whether you are innocent. In fact, anything you say about the case could be used against you at trial.
For these reasons, you should exercise your right to remain silent and allow your attorney to argue the law. If you wish to present evidence, your attorney can help determine if it is appropriate for a bail review and present it in a way that does not jeopardize your right to remain silent.
To get help with bail that was set too high, schedule a consultation with a Baltimore County criminal defense attorney today.