When someone is arrested and charged with a serious crime, they’ll likely have to pay a fee to remain out of jail before trial or a plea. This fee is called bail. A judge sets bail for individual offenses based on a large number of factors. Because Washington state law requires a mandatory arrest for suspected domestic violence, a lot of people in Washington are left wondering, “How much is bail for domestic violence?”
The answer to this question is complicated, and it varies on a case-by-case basis. In this post, we explore typical domestic violence bail amounts, factors that influence these amounts, how to get someone out of jail for domestic violence, and what to do next. Read on to learn more, or reach out to Will & Will for legal help.
How Much Is Bail for Domestic Violence?
The problem in determining how much bail is for domestic violence is that it can vary widely. Here’s what you need to know.
Bail vs. Bond in Domestic Violence Cases
First, you need to understand that “bail” and “bond” are not the same thing. Asking “How much is a bond for domestic violence?” is not really the same question as “How much is bail for domestic violence?”
The key difference is that bail is the amount of money one must pay to get out of jail. A bond is money paid by a bail bond agent to get someone out of jail.
If you pay the entire bail amount yourself, you can get the bail money back by appearing in court when you are supposed to and upon conclusion of the case. When you pay a bond, which is usually 10% of the bail amount if you’re represented by a public defender but that drops to 8% when you are represented by a private attorney like Will & Will, Pllc, the bail bond company will have to pay the full amount if you don’t appear in court. They act as your insurance agent. But don’t be fooled, if you fail to appear in court, the bail bond company will go after your family and their assets to recoup their lost money. Both bail and bond result in you getting out of jail, but they are paid in different ways.
The “No-Bail” Hold
For domestic violence charges, bail amounts are not set right away. That’s because Washington state court rules state that anyone accused of a crime related to domestic violence will be held in “non-bailable” status until the next court day when a hearing that will determine their bail amount occurs. That means someone accused of domestic violence may stay in jail for 24 to 72 hours before bail is set.
Typical Domestic Violence Bail Amounts
How much is bail for domestic violence? It can vary widely based on a large number of factors. However, we can look to historical suggested bail amounts for charges that often involve domestic violence to get an idea of the average amount.
According to available data and our experience in court, bail for domestic violence-related crimes is often between $1,000 and $5,000 for a gross misdemeanor charge. More serious accusations, such as felony domestic violence charges, tend to command bail amounts that can range from $25,000 to six figures.
With gross misdemeanor domestic violence charges, there is also a stronger possibility of being released on your promise to appear and not requiring bail or bond.
Factors That Influence Bail Amounts
While there are average bail amounts estimates, they are just that — estimates. In the Washington state Prosecutors’ Domestic Violence Handbook, prosecutors are instructed to consider the following factors, among others, when suggesting bail amounts:
- Criminal history
- Domestic violence history
- Severity of the crime
- Court history
- Aggravating factors
- Strength of the evidence
- Ties to the Community
- Relationship to the alleged victim
Based on these factors, individual bail amounts can be higher or lower than the average bail estimates.
How To Get Someone Out of Jail for Domestic Violence
If you are trying to get someone out of jail for a domestic violence-related charge, you are likely going to have to either pay bail or pay a bail bondsman. You will have to wait until the person’s bail has been set. From there, you can either pay the full bail amount if you have the cash on hand or contact a bond agent. A bond agent will ask you for a nonrefundable percentage of the bail amount, possibly collateral up to the full amount, and then will post the bond on your loved one’s behalf.
During all of this, it can be immensely helpful to have a lawyer on your side. An attorney can advise you on how to pay bail or a bond and start building a strong defense against the charge your loved one faces.
Getting Out of Jail for Domestic Violence: Next Steps
After you’re bailed out for domestic violence, the fight isn’t over. In fact, it’s really just the beginning. Here are your next steps.
Don’t Violate a Protective Order
Often, a protective order or no-contact order will be issued against you when you are allowed to leave jail for a domestic violence charge. This order may state that you can’t enter the alleged victim’s home, contact them, harm or threaten them, communicate with them through a third party or stay in your current shared home. It may also establish temporary custody of children or make you attend counseling.
No matter how frustrating it is, you need to follow the rules of such a no-contact order and any other rules of your pretrial release. Violating these rules can be an entirely separate crime that can land you back in jail and make your domestic violence case even more complicated.
Call an Attorney
If you didn’t call a lawyer when you were arrested or before you made bail, it’s time to call one now. You are still facing a domestic violence charge, and even though you’re out of jail, you could face severe penalties if you are eventually convicted. Calling an attorney as soon as possible gives your lawyer the best chance of building a winning defense that can keep you out of jail for good.
Will & Will: Your Domestic Violence Defense Team
“How much is bail for domestic violence?” is, in many ways, a less important question than, “How am I going to beat this domestic violence charge?” Bail matters, of course, but over the long term, you need to stay out of jail.
We’re here to help with that. Our criminal defense team has handled countless domestic violence cases over our more than 35 years of experience, and we’re ready to handle yours. To work with us, give us a call at 206-209-5585 or contact us online.