When a person is arrested for a crime, the first priority for their family is getting them released from jail. In the vast majority of cases, this is made possible through a bail agreement. However, there are certain cases in which bail can be denied outright and the person must remain in jail. The following are some of the circumstances that can keep a person locked up.
When the person is a flight risk
A flight risk is a person who could potentially leave the city, state, or country and not return for his or her court appearances. If a defendant has a history of fleeing from the law, a judge could deny bail in order to keep the person in jail and prevent him or her from running. A person who displays erratic behavior can be flagged as a flight risk as well, as can a non-US citizen who could easily skip out and return to his or her home country.
When it's a repeat offender
If a defendant who's already on parole gets charged with a secondary crime, the court can deny bail on the grounds that the person will willfully continue committing offenses while free. A judge may keep such a defendant in jail until trial to protect the welfare of society.
When the person could pose a threat to others
If a defendant displays signs of instability, a judge will deny bail because the defendant could be a threat to him- or herself or others. In such cases, the defendant might be sent to a mental health treatment facility instead of being held in jail until trial. Regardless, bail is not offered to defendants who are flagged as potentially violent offenders.
When the crime is severe
Severe crimes, including manslaughter, murder, rape, etc., are treated differently than minor crimes and other less serious charges. Because they could be charged with the death penalty, suspects in these cases are not offered bail and must be kept in custody until a jury trial determines their guilt or innocence.
What happens if bail is denied?
If a defendant gets denied bail, he or she is returned to jail and must wait there until the next hearing. At that hearing, the defendant can request bail again. He or she can alternatively appeal to a higher court system to reverse the decision and be offered bail. This is primarily successful if the defendant has some kind of extenuating circumstances or positive aspect to his or her release back into society.