A bond is lowered if a judge agrees to lower a defendant's bail, according to NOLO. Reasons that judges reduce bail include the defendant's inability to afford bail or if the bail amount is excessive. A bond is 10 percent of the bail amount, which the defendant must pay in cash.
A bail bondsmen puts up the remaining 90 percent of the bail to secure the defendant's release, NOLO explains. If the defendant fails to show up for a court date, the bond is revoked. A warrant is then issued for the defendant's arrest, and the bondsmen forfeits the bond. For this reason, many bondsman require collateral, such as the deed to a home. The bondsman's fee is also not refundable.
Jailhouses have standard bail rates for common crimes, which allow defendants to get out of jail quickly without having to see a judge, provided they can afford to pay 10 percent of the bail, explains NOLO. If they cannot, they remain in jail until a bail hearing. At this time, they can ask the judge to lower the bail based on the fact that it is unaffordable. Judges often grant this, as bail is not meant to be punitive. Many defendants with high or unaffordable bail argue that their Eighth Amendment right regarding protection from excessive bail has been infringed. If the defendant is deemed to be a danger to society if released on bail, the courts do not consider unaffordable bail to be excessive.