What You Should Know About Bail

Sitting in a jail cell is a scary, unpleasant experience. If you or someone you love gets into trouble with the law anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania, an agent specializing in Lancaster County bail bonds may be able to help secure your release so that your life is disrupted as minimally as possible.

How Is Bail Determined in Pennsylvania?

Bail bonds are a type of surety bond that help ensure that someone who’s been accused of a crime will appear for court hearings. Bail is not a fine or a punishment. Bail is assessed as a way to help a defendant who has not been convicted of a crime stay out of jail.

Bail amounts are not set arbitrarily. According to the Pennsylvania Code, Rule 523, there are a number of release criteria, including:

  • The nature of the offense: In Pennsylvania as in many other states, some bail schedules are set by law according to the severity of the crime. In general, the more heinous the crime, the higher the bail will be.
  • Past criminal record: Judges typically set higher bail amounts for Individuals who have a criminal history. In contrast, if it’s an individual’s first time being charged with a crime, that individual may be set free on his or her own recognizance.
  • Public safety: If someone who is charged with a crime was uncooperative during arrest to the extent that he or she might be considered a threat to public safety, bail will typically be set at a higher amount.
  • Risk of flight:

If the defendant is wealthy or is otherwise considered a flight risk, bail may be set higher. In some instances, the judge may not grant the defendant bail at all.

Bond Categories

  • Misdemeanor and felony bonds: Misdemeanors are generally considered to be less serious offenses than felonies, so bond amounts for misdemeanors are typically set lower.
  • Appeal bonds: Appeal bonds are paid by appellants who are questioning the process through which a sentencing decision was reached.
  • Immigration bonds: Immigration bonds allow undocumented immigrants to live in the community while awaiting a decision as to whether or not they will be allowed to continue living in the U.S.