A Short History of How the Bail Bond System Began

Bail Bonds began in England long ago. Learn how they've changed in a modern context.

We’ve all heard about bail bonds, but what do you really know about the history behind it? You’ve heard of dramatic, high-profile cases where judges set bail at a million dollars and watched blockbuster movies where bounty hunters chase down bail jumpers. But why were those people ever released from jail? What is the purpose of a bail bond? If someone is potentially guilty, then why would they be released from jail? Well, our story starts in England and is continued in a country with a judicial system built on the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. 

England Passes the Magna Carta

The original concept of bail bonds began on June 15, 1215. This is when King John of England signed the Magna Carta into law. This historic document was a turning point in the fight for a fair justice system and the concepts found within the Magna Carta can also be found in the United State’s Bill of Rights. These concepts were further cemented when Habeas Corpus was signed into law. In 1789, the United States passed a Judiciary Act stipulating that anyone accused of a crime that wasn’t punishable by death had the right to bail. All of this legislation was meant to bridge the gap between the poor and wealthy– ensuring a fair and equal experience. 

U.S. Constitution– Eighth Amendment

The eighth amendment of the United States constitution says in clear terms “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” In plain English, this means that people are entitled to a bail amount that fits the severity of the crime they stand accused of. However, this amendment doesn’t offer defendants an absolute right to bail.

The Bail Reform Act

As previously stated, our forefathers didn’t determine that all people must be given bail. Only that when they are it cannot be excessive. That’s why Congress passed the Bail Reform Act in 1966– expanding bail rights for defendants. This allowed anyone accused of a crime to resume their lives while they awaited their trial. The money was simply meant to serve as a guarantee that they would be present for their court dates. 

Then, in 1984 the Bail Reform Act was amended. Now, only defendants who weren’t a threat to society or a flight risk had the right to bail. This was an important decision for protecting the public’s wellbeing. Now, the courts could consider the impact on witnesses, jury members, and community members before letting a defendant out of jail. 

Houston Bail Bonds– Bail Bond Experts

Contact the knowledgeable and experienced bail bondsmen at ABC bail bonds. The concept of bail bonds has a long and noble history. One we’re dedicated to upholding. Just because you’re accused of a crime, doesn’t mean that you’re guilty or that you shouldn’t have the freedom to make arrangements or plan a defense.

Let us help you secure one of the fastest Houston bonds so you can get back to your life. Spend time with your family, go to work, hire a great attorney. We don’t really care what you choose to do with your freedom, but we empathize with your situation and want to help you spend as little time in lock up as possible. Contact ABC Bail Bonds today to learn more about or bail bonds. Ask us about the collateral we accept or about how we ensure your loved one is released quickly. If you have a question, we have an answer!

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