Bail is the money a defendant pays as a guarantee that they will show up in court at a later date. A failure to return triggers the bond obligation and allows the court to keep any money given as security. According to the American Bar Association, the judge or magistrate decides the amount of bail by weighing many factors, including:
- the risk of the defendant fleeing,
- the type of crime alleged,
- the "dangerousness" of defendants, and
- the safety of the community.
Sometimes bail is conditioned on certain behavior of the defendant; for example, that they have no contact with the alleged victim.
[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]