Since 1791, when the 8th Amendment was ratified, bail has been an important part of the justice system. Being bailed out allowed the defendant time to prepare his or her defense against the charges. Also, it kept the defendant from serving time before they were convicted. Remember, a defendant is innocent until the trial process determines otherwise.
Today bail continues to be important. When deciding whether or not to bail someone, consider the following:
- Does the defendant have a job that they will lose if they are incarcerated?
- Is their income needed to provide for family members?
- A defendant who is out on bail can show up to court clean shaven and wearing nice clothing. While appearance should not be the deciding factor in a court case, it can be an influence.
- As jails fill with gang members, they become increasingly dangerous. Your family member or friend is safer at home.
Bail allows a defendant to return home, continue to work and spend time with their family. The trial process can be stressful enough. Being at home during it is easier on everyone.