Being arrested for domestic violence is scary, infuriating, and humiliating. You have so many questions — How much is bail for domestic violence? Can you get a bail bond for domestic violence? Will you still be able to see your kids?
As bad as this experience is, it can also serve as a wake-up call that may save you from more serious trouble down the road. Now is the time to take steps to show the court that the arrest was the experience you needed to chart a better course. Unfortunately, what people do following an arrest for domestic violence often makes their situation far worse, adding more jail time and bigger financial penalties. Let’s answer your questions and see what your best next steps are.
How Much is Domestic Violence Bail?
Every state in America, plus the District of Columbia, has its laws about domestic violence. In general, misdemeanor domestic battery starts with bail set at $1,000, but it quickly escalates from there. In most states, bail for domestic violence ranges from $10,000 to $50,000, and it includes conditions like mandatory anger management classes, non-contact orders, and mandatory surrender of personal firearms.
Penalties for domestic disturbances are becoming more severe. If the police are called out to reports of domestic violence in California and Florida, one of the warring parties will be taken into custody. The goal is to protect both parties by stopping the cycle of escalating violence before it ends in either partner’s death or serious injury. So be warned — disturb your neighbors with protracted screaming and yelling, and you may wind up in jail! Does it seem harsh to have to worry about how much domestic violence bail is just because of a screaming match? Let’s see how we got here.
Domestic Violence in America
The prevalence of domestic violence is a national health crisis in America. The statistics are staggering. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV):
- Nearly 20 people in America are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. This adds up to over 10 million victims of domestic violence in one year.
- An intimate partner has injured 1 in 7 American women and 1 in 25 men.
- A study has found that fully 20% of the victims in intimate partner homicides are not one of the intimate partners themselves. Instead, they are family members, friends, neighbors, police responders, or bystanders who intervene.
- The cost of domestic violence bail between intimate partners exceeds $8.3 billion every year.
The staggering rate and damage of domestic violence are why courts intervene so proactively. Beyond setting bail for domestic violence and prison terms for convictions, they set bail conditions in an attempt to break the cycle of violence.
Although each of the statistics above involves intimate partners, charges of domestic violence can involve:
- Dating or Sexually intimate partners
- Family members
- Other members of the household
Domestic violence’s spiraling frequency and costs have led to increasing police intervention, arrests, fines, higher bail, bail conditions, and jail time.
Why Bail for Domestic Violence if There Are No Injuries?
You might wonder why you even need bail for domestic violence if there were no injuries. Physical battery and severe injuries are frequently involved in cases of domestic violence, but not always.
According to the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, domestic violence is comprised of many types of abuse, including:
- Physical abuse
- Denying medical treatment
- Forcing alcohol or drug use on another
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Psychological abuse
Not all of these forms of domestic violence leave physical marks or injuries, but any can and will lead to an arrest and require bail bonds for domestic violence.
How to Post Bail for Domestic Violence
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you will be fingerprinted, photographed, and booked into the local jail, awaiting your arraignment with the judge. This is when you will hear the charges against you, and the judge will set bail. Stay calm, and listen carefully. This is not an opportunity to plead your case.
When deciding how much bail for a domestic violence charge, the judge will consider the following issues:
- The severity of the crime you are accused of
- The severity of any injuries
- The possible risk posed to the community, including the alleged victim
- Any apparent evidence against you
- Any record you might have of skipping bail
Based on all the information presented, the judge will set bail for domestic violence and determine any conditions for bail.
Once bail is set, you can either pay it in full, find a bail bond agent, or wait in prison until your court date. A bail bond agent will put up the money to get you out of jail for a small percentage of the total bail amount. This non-refundable fee is typically 8-15% of the bail amount.
After Posting Bail for Domestic Violence
After posting bail for domestic violence, it is essential to comply with all bail conditions. Failure to do so may result in your bail being revoked, forcing you to return to prison to await your court date! If the court has not mandated anger-management therapy, initiating it yourself is an excellent way to demonstrate that you take the charges seriously.
After posting bail for domestic violence, you must:
- Abide by all bail conditions
- Build your defense
- Contact a defense attorney experienced in domestic violence cases
- Attend all your scheduled court hearings
- Avoid breaking any laws
- Avoid confronting your accuser
- Avoid spending time alone with the accuser
If there is a no-contact order in place, but you must retrieve some clothes and belongings from the home you share with your accuser, the police will help. Ask them to supervise your time in the home, thereby verifying that you are abiding by the no-contact order.
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