For the average citizen, the most experience we’ve had with bail is from the board game Monopoly. That lucky roll of the dice can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration, and real-life bail can feel similar.
This aside, avid TV watchers probably hear about bail every single day. News programs that cover convicts and criminals will toss about the term like it’s common knowledge. In reality, it is actually quite a simple process, but it’s one that 99 percent of the population will never find themselves in.
And while the process remains the same, the results will differ wildly depending on the suspect. Many would argue that famous celebrities can literally get away with murder because of their financial prowess. Others will argue that the bail system is unfair, and favours those who have more cash to throw about.
And, in essence, these people are correct. ‘Bailing yourself out’ basically comes down to coughing up the cash. So if you have more of it, you can afford that bail all the time. Celebrities still have to follow due process, but that process ends a lot sooner due to their wealth.
What is bail?
When someone is arrested on suspicion of a certain crime, they’ll be detained by the law enforcement agency. This involves being taken to jail, being fingerprinted and identified then having a mugshot taken. A court date will be set for a later date, and until that date, the suspect has to remain in jail. Unless they are released on bail, that is.
Bail involves more than just the suspect, and a company – called a bail bonds agency – will arrange the bail. A bail bonding agency will act on behalf of the suspect, and will arrange for them to be released from jail until the day of their trial. Bail bonds can be applied for on sites like http://www.gotbailhi.com/. Obviously, in jail, you won’t have an internet connection, but it’s something outside parties can easily handle.
The court will decide the value of the bail – be it assets, money or a type of bond – then it’s up to the agency to handle payment. Nowadays, bail bond agencies use software management tools like https://sites.google.com/ebail.app/bail-bond-software to streamline the process of providing bail bond services. That same agency is then responsible for getting the suspect to court on the day of their trial. If they don’t turn up, then it’s the fault of the agency. This is a rare occurrence though, and isn’t one that’s heavily documented when it does happen.
So, at its core, bail is a financial contract. Assets are exchanged for the release of a criminal suspect until the day of his or her court trial. It’s not hard to see how being in a position of power, like a celebrity, could be beneficial in this scenario.
In fact, as the Guardian rightfully points out, not many people can actually afford bail. In 2008, defendants given a bail of $1,000 or less were unable to meet this payment 87 percent of the time. Celebrities, however, would have no such trouble reaching such a low cost.
The sheer number of celebrity bail cases is well documented across the internet. In 2014, pop star Justin Bieber was arrested for drunk driving with a bail fee of $2,500. That amount would be pocket money to Bieber, and it’s ridiculous that bail doesn’t scale with the client.
Celebrity bail bonds are extremely common, and that’s precisely why they’re well documented. People love to read about the 1 percent in dire situations like this, and it makes for an interesting comparison. You can read about more celebrity bail bonds at this link over here http://affordabail.net/famous-bail-bonds-celebrities-law/.
How does the bail system benefit celebrities?
Avoiding jail is less about what crime you committed, and more about the size of your wallet. This also extends to being able to afford a good attorney, which comes at a heavy cost. The fact of the matter is, a quality defense can be bought, and those without means are left to fend for themselves.
Changes have been made to combat this however. In 2014, the length of time a person could be kept on bail was reduced to 28 days. This was done to combat the amount of time celebrities spend on bail, without being charged.
Even if a celebrity was convicted and sent to jail, it doesn’t have to be hell for them. Some jail cells can be rented for a premium, and include things like iPods, computers and mobile phones. This can afford the affluent the chance to actually make a nice living from a jail cell, making it more a holiday home than a punishment.
On the other hand, sometimes crime costs can match the wealth of their clients. In the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, his attorney team cost an estimated 3 – 6 million dollars. O.J. was never convicted, and that stands to this day. His top of the line defense surely helped, and someone with less cash would likely have sank before now.
Overall, the justice system is a tale of two cities. Yes, you can afford to post bail bonds if you have more money, but that bail can sometimes be cheap. It depends on the crime. A murderer isn’t going to be bailed out for a few hundred dollars, but a burglar might be. Should we be putting a price on crimes? Probably not. The playing field should be a little more even, regardless of age, race, gender or background.
So, all in all, the bail system can be a confusing one. In some cases, it can benefit the rich, and in some cases it can be utterly fair. Anyone stands a fair chance at a good defense if they have a bit of money, but all is not lost for those poorer people. If they are in fact guilty of the crime, then justice should be served. But we shouldn’t be allowing anybody of any walk of life to dodge a crime. Money shouldn’t equal power, but that’s something that the justice system can often embody.
What do you think of the bail and justice system? Share your thoughts in the comments below.