Crime and punishment have been overarching themes of civilized society since the first systems of government were formed a very long time ago. In the days before laws such as habeas corpus (innocent until proven guilty) were installed, leaders of the nation would decide whether an accused person was innocent or guilty based solely on a whim.
Today, we have laws that mandate each person is entitled to a fair and expedient trial per the sixth amendment of the Bill of Rights. This ensures that any accused person whether innocent or guilty will be allowed to stand trial and defend themselves accordingly.
According to the Burns Institute, bail was first established as an opinion for settling civil disputes (non-criminal cases) between citizens of Anglo-Saxon England- bail was not used as much for a reprieve from prison, but as an assurance that the case would be settled and the correct amount of money or property would be handed over to the accusing party.
In slightly more modern times, the Magna Carta, written by King John of England declared that bail was an option for accused persons to await their trials at home. This is a more modern interpretation of bail, but bondsmen in the formal sense did not exist yet. Rather, rich relatives, friends, or community members (known as sureties) could be requested to post bail for the accused person and receive a refund after the accused person attended their trial.
The process of finding a surety to cover bail was quite popular in England until the late 19th century when the world became more industrialized allowing people to travel further away from home at much faster rates- this fear of flight led to the first official bail laws being passed. This elimination of sureties led to a more standardized system of creating bail based on the modern criteria of income, flight risk, and crime committed, and also opened the doors to the rise of professional bondsmen.
Going back in time a little, the writers of the Constitution of the United States determined that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This was written in 1789, and there have since been further reforms to ensure that the Judge determines a fair bail for people who are accused of crimes.
Bail bondsmen have been a part of the United States justice system since the founding of this country. They have not always followed proper avenues of supporting accused people and helping them get out of jail, but conditions have greatly improved since the early days of the United States, and bail bondsmen now follow strict laws that ensure they are fair to the people they serve.
A More Modern Approach
Paying bail used to be a tricky subject, but now it is a regulated and more navigable process when you choose the correct agency. It is important to ensure your agency is trustworthy and ethical, and this can be determined through researching their experience and credentials. The legal system of the United States is not perfect, and bail can certainly seem daunting, but it is put in place to ensure the due process of law can take place.
Just like systems of government, bail has evolved to better fit the needs of the people. Bail fees may still be rather high, but it is important to remember that it is possible to get through this. The bail bondsmen of the past are not the same as modern bail bondsmen who are here to ensure that you are home with your family while awaiting your trial without having to pay the full price of bail. If you need assistance with finding a bail bond for your case from a reliable and experienced agency, contact AAAA Bail Bonds today!