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Posting Bail: Understanding the Process and Your Options

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal justice systemTypically, when an individual is arrested and charged with a crime, they have to wait weeks, months or even years before their case goes to trial. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be required to sit in jail until the day of trial comes. But, not everyone who gets arrested is required to stay in jail until trial.

Posting bail is the only way to leave jail and remain free until your trial date. There are a few different ways to be released on bail. Cash, bonds, or property is considered bail and you may give one or more of these items to the court to ensure that you will appear whenever the court orders. Sometimes, if you are facing less serious charges, the court will release you on your own personal recognizance. But, if you do not show up on the court ordered date, then the court will keep the bail you posted and issue a warrant for your arrest.

Posting Bail and Bail Hearings

Wisconsin law indicates that bail hearings are to occur after you are arrested, and they usually take place on your first court appearance or shortly thereafter. If you are arrested for a violent crime, the judge may deny your request to be released on bail. When less serious crimes are involved, you could be released with a high amount of bail or without any bail at all. The essential purpose of the bail hearing is to determine whether or not releasing you back into the public is appropriate, depending on the crime with which you are charged.

At a bail hearing, you must show the judge that you will attend all court ordered dates, that you are not a flight risk, and that you will not cause harm to the community or witnesses in your case. In order to accomplish this difficult task, you can have witnesses testify to your involvement with the community, or have individuals from your place of employment or community submit character reference letters on your behalf. The purpose of the bail hearing is to help convince the court that releasing you to the public is the right decision. The more serious the crime you are charged with, the more difficult it will be to convince the judge that releasing you is the proper thing to do under the circumstances.

Excessive Bail

According to the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the bail you are facing cannot be excessive. The government cannot make money off of you nor are they allowed to punish you for a crime you are suspected of committing without being convicted. The sole purpose of bail is to ensure that you show up all ordered court appearances.

Usually, most people will post bail and get out of jail quickly. If you, or someone you know, was arrested and is being held without bond, or with an excessively high bond, you should contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who will be able to assist in the reduction of your bond, or able to convince the judge to release you on your own recognizance.

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