Statistically Possible: Just How Likely Are You To Get Bail If You Show Up For Your Court Hearing?

Law Blog

Just how likely are you to get bail if you show up for your court hearing? For those arrested, judges must constantly weigh certain factors to make this determination. In case you were unaware, bail is money paid (or property pledged) and a promise to return for subsequent court dates, and not everyone is able to be bailed out. Needless to say, staying behind bars while awaiting trial makes it a lot more difficult to prepare for your trial and fight for your innocence. Often, bail is determined using some varied, and admittedly subjective, factors. More and more often, however, the courts are using some fairly sophisticated data resources to set bail. Read on to learn more:

How it's usually done

Each defendant must be evaluated individually, and the resulting decisions can be described as little more than educated guesses. If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney may argue for bail and against what seems to be excessive bail amounts, but in all cases, you will be stuck in jail until you are able to be bailed out. In most cases, the alleged perpetrator of a crime is judged on the following factors:

  • The current charges
  • The past criminal history, the history of any bail situations and whether or not the defendant actually made good on the pledge to return for trial and sentencing.
  • Age, job status, community ties, years lived in the same place, etc.

The new way of determining bail

If the local courts use this new way of determining the possibility and amount of bail, you can expect to be given a score. You may never really know what your score is, nor will you necessarily know exactly how your bail was determined, but your score is based on how likely you might be to return for more hearings. A trove of data can be mined for records of past arrests, demographic information about past defendants and the occurrence of making good on bail. For example, subjects who fit certain demographic models have been found in the past to be more compliant with bail strictures. What those demographics are may be secretive and subject to much controversy.

A positive or negative move?

Proponents of this method say that it cuts down on racial bias since race is not supposed to be included in the algorithm. Opponents, however, point out that this distinction matters little since the data used is from past, and potential racially biased, arrest records.

Regardless of the manner your bail was determined, you will need a bail bondsman to assist you in being freed from jail. Check out a website like for more information and assistance. 


11 September 2017