What Happens During a Bail Hearing?

What is a bail hearing, and what can you reasonably expect to take place during this time? As its name implies, a bail hearing is a hearing in court, before a judge, for bail. In other words, during a bail hearing, a judge will determine whether or not a defendant is entitled to bail, and if so, what the bail amount is, and what other conditions may be imposed on top of the amount of bail that needed to be paid.

During a bail hearing, the judge presides over a courtroom where the defendant appears with his attorney. The prosecutor may also be present. The defendant, through his attorney, may argue on behalf of the defendant, either:

  • to ask that bail be granted if the judge has decided to refuse bail;
  • to request that the defendant be released on his own recognizance if bail was granted at a certain amount;
  • to ask for a lower amount of bail if the bail amount has been set at what seems to be an unreasonably high amount; and
  • to reduce or remove one or more of the conditions that the judge may have added to the bail

And because this is an adversarial proceeding, the prosecutor can present opposing motions if he or she considers the defendant’s requests to be unreasonable. So:

  • to deny bail where bail was granted, if it is believed that the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the public;
  • to raise the amount of bail;
  • to add additional conditions to the defendant’s bail

A jury is not present or needed at this time.