Driving offenses cover a wide gamut from simple ones like running a red light or speeding to serious charges like driving under the influence or vehicular manslaughter. That’s why it is not easy to cover the question of bail in one simple answer.
Fortunately, we had Bail Co Bail Bonds Company to talk to, and they shared some of their insights into how bail is set by the judges for driving offenses. The company was adamant that this is by no means legal advice or strictly accurate information (as there is a lot that depends on the judge in charge of the case), but rather an informative conversation meant to give you a rough idea about bail.
What Are Infractions and What Are Violations?
One of the first things that we need to establish when talking about traffic offenses is the difference between simple infractions and more serious violations.
Essentially, if you are stopped by a law officer for things like a broken tail light, not wearing a seatbelt, or something similar, chances are that this is an infraction. You can expect the officer to write you a ticket and let you go. You can pay the fine or try to challenge it at traffic court, but those are minor infractions of the rules of traffic.
On the other hand, if you’re arrested by the officer, it’s more likely that you’re looking at a violation, a more serious kind of legal problem. If you’re taken to jail, that’s a traffic violation which may result in you needing a local bail bondsman to get out.
What’s the Sentence You Can Expect for a Traffic Violation?
Driving offenses, just like other crimes in the US, are split into two broad categories – misdemeanors and felonies. Depending on the traffic violation, it will be put in one of these categories, and the sentence will be set accordingly. The sentence for these kinds of crimes can be anything from paying a fine to serious jail time, depending on the severity of the situation.
How Is Bail Amount Set?
If you’re arrested and your court date is set, you may also be given the chance to post bail and be let out of jail until that date. There are several factors that the judge takes into account when determining the amount of money you need to pay for your freedom.
The first factor is the standard practice or the bail schedule. This factor gives you a rough estimate of how much the bail should be. For instance, non-violent misdemeanors in Connecticut typically carry a bail of around $500 before other factors are taken into account.
Aggravating factors such as if anyone was hurt during the crime or if there was considerable material damage are also taken into account, as well as your previous record. If you’ve been an upstanding citizen until now, the bail may go down, whereas anyone with an extensive criminal record may expect to have their bail go up. Finally, if you pose a flight risk – if the judge thinks you may run away, your bail might be significantly higher in order to deter you from this course of action, or you may be denied bail altogether.
Ultimately, the amount of money you need for bail is at the discretion of the judge, but they still do need to adhere to some standards of practice.
Driving offenses are no different with regard to bail availability, but some people tend to put them in the milder category of offenses, which means that a similar offense without the involvement of a vehicle might be judged more harshly.