What happens after someone is arrested?
If a person is arrested, charged with any crime and taken to jail – a bail commissioner will set the bail amount and conditions.
There is no standard bail amount based on the crime. The Bail Commissioner’s non-refundable fee is $60. This fee can be waived or adjusted based on the person’s ability to pay.
The Bail Commissioner will set bail amount and conditions, usually based on Law Enforcement recommendations. It doesn’t matter if it is the first or fifth offense, everyone is entitled to bail. Factors to consider are whether the person might be a flight risk, may reoffend, has a job, from out of state, and has family and friends in the area. Bail conditions are set to protect the community and victim. Conditions can include no contact with the victim, not to return to an address, no alcohol or drug use, no dangerous weapons and others.
If bail is set for $5000, it is really only $500 cash or 10% of the “bail” amount. Usually it is set at 10% cash or surety (property) valued at the bail amount. This can be deceiving when people read that bail was set at $10,000 and the defendant makes bail. If someone is out of jail on bail with conditions and violates those conditions, they can be charged with a new crime - violating bail conditions. They have a right to bail for this new crime through a judge and the same parameters apply. The District Attorney will make recommendations to the Judge concerning bail amount and conditions.
If a person does not have money or property, they have a right to see a judge within 48 hours. The person may be released on personal recognizance with or without bail conditions. Very few people stay in jail very long.
A victim can’t feel safe just because the person that hurt them has been arrested. Bail conditions are just a piece of paper – just like a Protection from Abuse order. Creating a safety plan is important.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call:
Safe Voices: 24 hr. free and confidential helpline 800-559-2927 www.safevoices,org; REACH: Sexual Assault Support Center: 800-871-7741 www.reachmaine.org; or contact your local police department: 9-1-1 for emergency only.