Bail Vs. Pretrial Release: Basics and Jurisdictions

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Bail Vs. Pretrial Release: Basics and Jurisdictions

bail pretrial release basics

While jail is one of the potential consequences of breaking the law in the United States, it’s not the only one. There are also many cases where lesser punishments are levied on those accused or convicted of crimes, including several different circumstances where a defendant may be initially booked into jail and then eventually released.

At Beehive Bail Bonds, we’re here to provide 24/7 bail bond services to those who are eligible to be released from jail using bail, but do not have the requisite funds to meet the bail price. The bail process is just one of the ways someone booked into jail might get out prior to their trial date – another that’s worth knowing about, especially because it’s relatively similar to bail in certain ways, is known as pretrial release. This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know about both of these formats.

Jail and Resources

When it comes to the jailing of people for crimes, there’s a fine line to ride in any society. For starters, citizens have the right to life and freedom, even those who have been slightly imperfect in their lives – we cannot simply jail every person who commits even a minor traffic offense.

More to the point, though, even when getting into more serious crimes, it’s simply not realistic from a financial or space standpoint to jail too many people. For this reason, there are several alternatives out there to jail time that still allow the individual in question to be monitored by the government and/or pay some kind of restitution for their crime – with bail and pretrial release serving as two of the most common alternatives here.

Pretrial Release and Bail

Technically speaking, the broad term “pretrial release” is one that actually includes bail. Bail is, indeed, one method of securing a release from jail prior to your trial.

However, in practical conversation these terms tend to be used differently. Bail is used to specifically describe situations where the defendant (or their friends or family, through one of our bail bond agents) pays money to secure their release; pretrial release refers to a release of a defendant on certain other conditions, but not those related to paying a monetary sum.

Local and Federal

Pretrial release is both a local and federal service in the United States. In local jurisdictions, a judge will typically have full control over which defendants are granted pretrial release versus held for bail – they will evaluate several factors here (more on this in part two). In federal situations, these decisions are often made using pretrial service programs that gather information and assess the risk level of the defendant.

For more on pretrial release versus bail, or to learn about any of our bail bond services or defense attorney recommendations, speak to the staff at Beehive Bail Bonds today.