An individual who has been held on bail has many advantages in an already difficult situation. One of the main benefits of having an "affordable" bail amount is that you have been permitted the right to remain free until your first court hearing. However, you are also agreeing that you will appear in court on all required dates until the case has been closed. In some cases, some defendants are awaiting a prison sentence, and they are free until the sentence is given in court. This can be a very difficult time, even though the defendant is allowed to be home with his/her family and friends.
Some people do not realize the cost of going through trials when facing serious charges. Whether a defendant is guilty or innocent, he/she must cover the high cost of court time and the lawyers handling the case. What's worse, the defendant may cause financial stress for friends or loved ones if he/she is found guilty. Moreover, the cost of a bail bondsman is not always affordable. Typically, a bail bondsman will charge a non-refundable base fee which does not include the additional charges for being required to appear in court. However, the biggest disadvantage for defendants is the power the government has to repossess the defendant's property, which could severely affect the lives of loved ones and/or friends.
Although some state authorities believe that bail is a risky type of business, it is not completely understood why it is banned in several places across the U.S. One of the main benefits of allowing defendants to post bail is that it reduces the cost of funding to hold them in a holding facility or jail. Part of the holding process includes feeding and looking after these individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. Thus, there are cafeteria and facility staff that must be paid for performing these duties. Thus, bail allows the government to avoid the costs of caring for individuals who have been held due to their charges.
One unique outlook on the benefit of bail involves psychologically affecting the individuals who are brought into court or held in jail temporarily. The goal is to "scare" or leave an impression on these young offenders who have a chance to avoid serious charges later in life. Sometimes, the bail amount will also scare the defendants into showing up to court as the amount is likely more than they can afford immediately out of pocket.
One of the major disadvantages of the bail system is taking the risk of allowing an individual who has been accused of a crime to return on the date provided by the judge. It is not uncommon for the accused to flee the country immediately after the bail hearing. In these cases, it is a waste of the government's resources and time to seek out these runaways and bring them back to the United States. The cost of searching and the amount of effort to capture the defendant does not always prove fruitful.