Demystifying Bail and Bail-Related Information – Part I
Bail Process in Washington
Many people have never been convicted or even accused of a crime before, especially in the context of the Bail process in Washington. Our firm sees it every day. Some of the most frequently asked questions refer to bail. It is important to note that the judicial process follows a step-by-step process that must be followed in order to ensure everyone is constitutionally protected. As a result, some of you may feel the urge to try to argue your case upon seeing a judge for the first time, but this is not the time to do so. The judge is merely there to set bail, a crucial step in the Bail process in Washington. The reason why the court process is like this is to ensure your defense attorney has the proper time to respond to the allegations you are facing and that they have time to see the evidence the state is planning to use against you. Rest assured, the time for your attorney to argue your case will come later.
So, to help demystify the process a bit, we thought we would provide you a short guide to help answer some of your questions, released in a multi-series guide. This First portion of ‘Demystifying Bail and Bail-Related Information’ will address a couple of subjects. Specifically: (1) what is bail and (2) when is it set.
Question one: Generally – What is Bail
Bail is defined as the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money be lodged to guarantee their appearance in court. Generally, bail is simply a sum of money that is paid to the court to incentivize the person charged with a crime to appear before the court for all future mandatory court appearances. A Bail bond “means the contract between the defendant, the surety and/or the court to insure the appearance of the accused before the court(s) at such time as the court may direct.” The amount that the defendant has to pay is 10% of their total bail amount. Upon purchasing a bail bond, the person may be released from jail during the pendency of their charges.
Question Two: When is Bail Set
Bail is set at your arraignment hearing before the judge. The law states that “judicial determinations of bail or release be made no later than the preliminary appearance stage.” Arraignment is simply the hearing where the court informs the defendant which crimes they of specifically and formally being charged with. In addition, it is also when the defendant is able to enter their plea of guilty or not guilty. Once the defendant pleads, the court then will either determine if the person is eligible for bail, and, if so, will set the amount of bail. It is also during this time that if an individual is deemed indigent that a person may be appointed an attorney.
To be continued..