Bail

The release, prior to trial, of a person accused of a crime, under specified conditions designed to assure that person's appearance in court when required. Also can refer to the amount of bond money posted as a financial condition of pretrial release.

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Answers.com

Security, usually a sum of money, exchanged for the release of an arrested person as a guarantee of that person's appearance for trial.

Release from imprisonment provided by the payment of such money.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

A commitment made (and possibly secured by cash or property) to secure the release of a person being held in custody and suspected of a crime, to provide some kind of guarantee that the suspect will appear to answer the charges at some later date.

Encyclopedia Britannica

Procedure by which a judge or magistrate sets at liberty one who has been arrested or imprisoned, upon receipt of security to ensure the released prisoner’s later appearance in court for further proceedings. Release from custody is ordinarily effected by posting a sum of money, or a bond, although originally bail included the delivery of other forms of property, such as title to real estate. The principal use of bail in modern legal systems is to secure the freedom, pending trial, of one arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Subject to jurisdictional variations, its use in civil cases has diminished along with the decline of imprisonment for debt.

Law.com Dictionary

The money or bond put up to secure the release of a person who has been charged with a crime. For minor crimes bail is usually set by a schedule which will show the amount to be paid before any court appearance (arraignment). For more serious crimes the amount of bail is set by the judge at the suspect's first court appearance. The theory is that bail guarantees the appearance of the defendant in court when required. While the Constitution guarantees the right to reasonable bail, a court may deny bail in cases charging murder or treason, or when there is a danger that the defendant will flee or commit mayhem. In some traffic matters the defendant may forfeit the bail by non-appearance since the bail is equivalent to the fine. 2) v. to post money or bond to secure an accused defendant's release. This is generally called "bailing out" a prisoner.

Lect Law Library

The money a defendant pays as a guarantee that he or she will show up in court at a later date. For most serious crimes a judge or magistrate sets bail during an arraignment, or in federal court at a detention hearing.

By bail is understood sureties, given according to law, to insure the appearance of a party in court. The persons who become surety are called bail. Sometimes the term is applied, with a want of exactness, to the security given by a defendant, in order to obtain a stay of execution, after judgment, in civil cases., Bail is either civil or criminal.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

The system that governs the status of individuals charged with committing crimes, from the time of their arrest to the time of their trial, and pending appeal, with the major purpose of ensuring their presence at trial.

In general, an individual accused of a crime must be held in the custody of the court until his or her guilt or innocence is determined. However, the court has the option of releasing the individual before that determination is made, and this option is called bail. Bail is set by the judge during the defendant's first appearance. For many misdemeanors, bail need not be set. For example, the defendant may be released on the issuance of a citation such as a ticket for a driving violation or when booked for a minor misdemeanor at a police station or jail. But for major misdemeanors and felonies, the defendant must appear before a judge before bail is determined.

Wikipedia

Traditionally, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail (and be guilty of the crime of failure to appear). In most cases bail money will be returned at the end of the trial, if all court appearances are made, no matter whether the person is found guilty or not guilty of the crime accused. In some countries granting bail is common. Even in such countries, however, bail may not be offered by some courts under some circumstances; for instance, if the accused is considered likely not to appear for trial regardless of bail. Countries without bail imprison the suspect before the trial only if deemed necessary. Legislatures may also set out certain crimes to be unbailable, such as capital crimes.