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How Is Bail Determined For Theft Crimes?


Interviewer: In terms of bail scenarios, are all these bondable crimes? What is the typical bail amount for petit larceny versus grand, versus burglary, versus robbery?

Stuart: Bail is set for a couple of reasons. One, your prior record is very important as to bail. The person who goes to Macy’s and steals a sweater for the first time is probably not going to have bail on them.

Then there is the person who has done it 40 times in the past. He or she steals a sweater, and so this is their 41st petit larceny charge. Well, they are probably going to have a decent amount of bail set on them.

The other factor is whether the judge believes that you are a good bail risk in coming back to court. The person who lives in Canada and gets caught shoplifting here is not as likely to come back. This is because they do not live here. They do not have ties here.

They may have more bail set on them than the person who lives right in Nassau County; who has lived here 20 years, whose job is here, whose kids are here, and whose house is here. That is what we call the ties to the community.

Then the last factor is: What does the judge feel the general public will view this as? If it is a small crime of $100, the judge would say the community would be outraged if he set a million dollar bail on that person. The community would not be outraged if he let that person go free or set $100 bail.

That same applies if somebody commits burglaries or robberies. Suppose somebody breaks into a dwelling, ties up the homeowners, suffocates them, steals their stuff in the middle of the night or the day. If the judge sets $100 bail on that person, the community would say, “That is just not right.”

At the same time, if he set $10 million bail, they may say, “That is not right”. There is a balancing act based on, as I said, the prior record, ties to the community, and the nature of the crime itself.

Interviewer: It is also based on whether you are considered to be a danger to the community.

Stuart: That is correct.