After a person has been arrested for a DUI or DWI, the suspect is booked and faces possible jail time. It is quite common for the court to proceed with a bail hearing, so the defendant can return home while waiting for trial. In order to avoid time in prison, bail is set, which is a cash amount paid up front as a promise to show up for trial. After the case is settled, bail is returned.
There is a court process in place to settle bail. The Constitution promises that bail will be set to a fair amount. This means that a judge is lawfully prohibited from placing the value too high or at an unfair level. However, higher monetary values can be expected in more serious crimes or if the defendant is considered a flight risk. There are also certain cases where the court sets bail according to a predetermined schedule.
Many times, a judge will base the monetary amount on three basic facts. The first is the suspect’s past criminal record. A first-time offender will commonly end with a lower bail than a frequent offender. Also, the individual seriousness of the offense may be considered. If severe injury occurs due to the DUI, bail is usually set high. Finally, a judge may consider the suspect’s place in the community, family ties, and employment.
It is not necessary for a defendant to have a lawyer present during a bail hearing. However, some people do choose to have an attorney at the proceeding. A lawyer understands the bail system and can arrange to have friends and family members at the hearing as well. However, a lawyer is no guarantee of lower bail or other gain. Since bail rates vary from case to case, there is no way to absolutely anticipate the exact dollar value that will be necessary to raise.