BAIL: CONSTITUTIONALLY? SIMPLY AN OLD-FASHIONED WORD THAT MEANS “PROMISE”.
Constitutionally, everyone is theoretically entitled to Bond; when charged with a criminal act; which is simply an old-fashioned word that means “Promise”.
Virtually, everyone who is arrested will have some form of bond. In Virginia, for a fairly low or medium level crime, if the person lives in the local area, and they don’t have a prior criminal record, then likely they’ll probably be released by the Magistrate on a “Personal Recognizance”, “Bond” which means they’ll sign a bond “agreement” with a promise to appear in court; and that if they fail to appear, not only will they be subject to the criminal charge of “Failure to Appear”, but they will also have to pay the city or county where they are arrested the amount of bail “Bond” that they promised to pay if they did not appear.
But, for higher level crimes or, if the person charged has a prior criminal record, or lives out of state, then the Magistrate may not give them a “Bond”; so they will have to be held in Jail and then go in front of a judge, where the judge the next business day, where the judge decides whether or not they should be granted “Bond” and how much the “Bail” should be; and most people do qualify for some type of “Bond”
At the end of the day, Bail and Bond are determined by two basic things: a) That there is a reasonable expectation that the person charged will appear for all of their required court dates and not flee the jurisdiction prior to trial; and, b) that there is a reasonable expectation that the person is not a threat to the community or society if they are released on Bond.
How ‘Bail Bond’ works
If you or your family cannot afford to put up their own Bail Bond money [which is returned to you or your family, in full, at the end of your case – as long as you do not flee], then you can obtain the services of a Bail Bondsman who will charge you or your family a non-refundable fee of usually 10 percent of the Bail amount; which they keep as their fee to guarantee that the full amount of the Bail Bond will be paid to the court if you fail to appear in Court at any Court date, or breach any other bond requirements.