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Do I have the right to bail in Virginia?

If you've been charged with a crime, one of the things you may have to deal with is the use of bail. In Virginia, you don't have a right to bail in a criminal case. That means that you could be stuck in jail for as long as your case is pending, which is why many people have an attorney help them convince the judge to allow bail to be determined at a hearing.

The Constitution of the United States does protect you against excessive fines and bail amounts, so if bail is given in your case, it should be for a fair amount according to the type of crime. To find out if you're going to be issued a bail amount, you need to go to a bail hearing. The hearing will discuss the facts of the case and determine if the defendant should be allowed out of jail on bail.

There are a few things that can be considered, like the risk of the person fleeing if let out of jail or if the defendant would be unsafe or difficult to locate out of jail. The terms of your bail are determined at the hearing and will have special conditions. For instance, your bail may say you can leave if $1,500 is paid and you don't leave the county.

If a bond is paid on your behalf, it means that another person has guaranteed that you will follow the orders for bail and that the money owed will be paid if the conditions of bail aren't met. If you're not approved for bail and found ineligible, you'll be returned to jail.

Source: Magistrates Manual, "Bail Procedures," accessed July 08, 2015

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