An Overview of Bail in Arizona

gavel over a pile of money - bail in Arizona

An Overview of Bail in Arizona

Most people think that bail is an amount of money you pay to get out of jail. However, the actual definition of bail has more to do with ensuring that you follow a set of rules before trial. In fact, a payment is not always required for someone to be released on bail. 

Bail is defined as a set of pre-trial restrictions or rules that are given to a defendant to ensure that they appear for court dates and do not hamper the judicial or investigative process. Bail is determined by a judge who reviews many factors. The judge might take into consideration things like the severity of the crime, how many ties the defendant has in the community, or even the views of the victim. 

How Bail Works in Arizona

While it does not always need to be a bail bond (monetary bail) that is the most common type of bail in Arizona. This process includes obeying certain restrictions set by the judge, and paying a bond in order to be released from custody. 

Bonds are not the same as a fine or a court fee. They are a deposit of money or property to the court, which is kept only if the conditions of the bond are not met. These conditions are often tied to appearing in court or staying away from witnesses. If all rules, expectations, and conditions are met, then the fee is released after the trial. 

Is Bail Assigned in Every Case?

  • No. When crimes are considered minor, a defendant can be summoned without a need for an arrest or an initial appearance (where bail is administered). 
  • Others might be released on their own recognizance, meaning there are no provisions other than showing up to court. 
  • Bail and other release measures can also be denied. This means that the defendant would need to stay in jail until their trial.

What Happens If You Can’t Pay for Bail? 

You are not obligated to pay for your bail, however, if you do not, you will have to stay in jail until your trial. Arizona is one of the states that make you pay for your time incarcerated. This means that oftentimes, finding a way to make bail will save you money in the long run.

If the bail set by the judge is more than you can afford, there are several options. First is asking friends or family for help with the cost. Another option is using a bail bondsman. 

A Bail Bondsman is a company (or individual) who fronts the bail for you. They then charge a rate for borrowing the money (typically about 10% of the bond) along with other fees. These companies often also require check-ins to ensure you are meeting all the requirements for bail. 

Does Bail Affect Your Case?

Regardless of whether you made bail or stayed in jail, paid out of pocket or used a bondsman, bail has no impact on your case unless you break the rules. 

For example, refusing to show up for court appearances is a big mistake. If a defendant out on bail does not appear for a court date, there are several courses of action that the Arizona court system can take. For starters, the bail bond is forfeit and the money will not be returned. Next, an arrest warrant will be issued. Finally, there could be additional charges, such as failure to appear filed against the defendant. 

Failure to appear could affect a case by showing the judge that the defendant does not have respect for the courts or the judicial process. This can be extremely damaging, and it can often lead to harsher sentences for the defendant if they are convicted. 

A Good Lawyer Can Help You Fight Your Case

No matter what crime you are charged with, only the best criminal defense attorney in Arizona can keep your life on track. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in the Arizona court system. He not only knows all the ins and outs of criminal law, he will fight to lower your bail bond. Don’t take a risk with an inexperienced lawyer—contact us today for a consultation on your case.





Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/15/24).Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash.