In Henrico or Chesterfield VA, the amount of the bail bond is first within the scope and discretion of the judge or magistrate. There are only two general limitations:
- The purpose of a bail bond is not to penalize or punish the defendant. But to secure the appearance of the accused, and it should be set with that in mind.
- Excessive bail, not warranted by the circumstances or the evidence at hand, is a violation of constitutional rights. When fixing the amount of the bail bond. The court takes into consideration the seriousness of the charge. The court also considers the defendant’s previous criminal record. Moreover, the court looks at the probability of the defendant appearing at the trial.
If public safety is an issue, the court may make an inquiry and consider allegations of injury to the victim. Public safety issues mean anger to the public and or to the defendant. Public safety issues are also threats to the victim or a witness. Also, the use of a deadly weapon and the defendant’s use or possession of controlled substances. A judge or magistrate who is setting bail and who is in other than a scheduled or usual bail amount. Must state on the record the reasons and address the issue of threats made against a victim or a witness. The court must also consider evidence offered by the detained person. This is about ties to the community and ability to post bond. The bail amount set by the court must be within the minimum range amount of bail. That would reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance – NOT the maximum!