In Indiana, a court may impose a bail bond against the person charged with a crime. The purpose of a court imposing bail is to either: ensure the individual’s appearance at court; ensure another person’s physical safety; or to ensure the safety of the public at large.1 However, many individuals are unable to post the amount required. So, what do those individuals do? Do they have to just sit in jail? In this blog, we look at how an individual may be able to reduce the amount of bail required by the court.
The general rule is that a court may not impose bail in an amount higher than is reasonably necessary to: assure the defendant’s appearance at court; assure the physical safety of an individual; or assure the safety of the community.2 When an individual faces an amount of bail that they are simply unable to pay, that individual can petition the court to reduce the amount. Now, whether a court reduces the amount is another question entirely, but the option is available.
When you petition the court to reduce the bail amount, the court will look at ten different factors in making a decision. These factors include: (1) the length and character of the defendant’s residence in the community; (2) the defendant’s employment status and history and his ability to give bail; (3) the defendant’s family ties and relationships; (4) the defendant’s character, reputation, habits, and mental condition; (5) the defendant’s criminal or juvenile record, insofar as it demonstrates instability and a disdain for the court’s authority to bring him to trial; (6) the defendant’s previous record in not responding to court appearances when required or with respect to flight to avoid criminal prosecution; (7) the nature and gravity of the offense and the potential penalty faced, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance; the source of funds or property to be used to post bail or to pay a premium, insofar as it affects the risk of nonappearance; that the defendant is a foreign national who is unlawfully present in the United States under federal immigration law; and (10) any other factors, including any evidence of instability and a disdain for authority, which might indicate that the defendant might not recognize and adhere to the authority of the court to bring him to trial.3
If an individual is able to convince a court that the majority of the above-listed factors weigh in his/her favor, the court may reduce the amount of bail. But, it is important to remember that these types of situations are extremely fact-sensitive. Just because you are able to show that the majority of factors weigh in your favor does not necessarily mean that the court will reduce the amount. This is a discretionary call and you must make the right arguments and present the right evidence. This is where it becomes increasingly important to hire skilled defense counsel to assist you. If you find yourself in trouble, skilled defense counsel is crucial to protect your rights in a criminal case. This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle the full spectrum of criminal cases throughout Indiana. This blog is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.