Criminal Bail, What is it?

It is necessary to distinguish between the civil guarantee and the penal guarantee. Civilian is the one we all know, when a person is a guarantor for renting an apartment or for a loan. 

Criminal bail is one of the terms of the judicial review. 

Criminal bail is one of the terms of the judicial review. 

A judge will tell an indicted “that he can remain free pending his trial in exchange he must meet obligations.” He will then be placed under judicial control. 

The judicial review has two components: 

  • – Obligation for example not to come into contact with the victims, not to go to a place… 
  • – It is also the payment of criminal bail. But this modality is not very used because complicated to put in place. 

Criminal bail is an  alternative to pre-trial detention. 

A first part of the bond is assigned to “representativeness”.  The judge wants to ensure that the indicted will come to the hearing on the day of the trial. 

A second part of the bond is assigned to “compensation to the civil party and the payment of fines”

It can sometimes be assigned to only one of these obligations. 

By paying this deposit you therefore guarantee: 

  • – To appear before the judge. 
  • – To compensate the civil party and pay the fines.

Who decides on the amount? 

Who decides on the amount? 

The amount, the period of payment and, possibly, the splitting or setting of a schedule are decided by the judge of freedoms and detention or the judge of instruction. The amount of the deposit is decided according to the financial situation of the people. 

Is the deposit refunded? 

Is the deposit refunded? 

If a non-place is pronounced, your deposit is fully refunded. That is to say, both the part that was intended for “compensation”, and the part intended for your “representativeness”.

If you are convicted, if you have fulfilled the obligations of judicial review, then the first part of the bond, the one for “representativeness”, is returned; the second part serves, as planned, to compensate the civil parties. 

If you did not show up, you are incarcerated. In this case, the State keeps the guarantee for “representativeness”. 

When the part of the bond intended to compensate the victims is not sufficient, the State can fill the gap by taking in the part intended for representativeness. 

Where is the deposit? 

Where is the deposit? 

It is paid to the registry of the court, which transfers it to the Caisse des dépôts and consignations.

The case of France and the United States

The case of France and the United States

Criminal bail bonds are not used in the same way in France as in the United States. Generally, in the Anglo-Saxon countries, the deposit is commonplace. With us, it is more rare. 

In Bordeaux, for example, a former judge of liberty and detention “had one or two cases of bail in 3 years”. Most often the indicted are under judicial control but without obligation to pay bail, or they are incarcerated. “In France 25% of prisoners are not tried, they are in pre-trial detention, which is far too much,” he lamented.