How Long Do You Stay in Jail if You Can’t Make Bail?

Being arrested can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, especially if you are unable to make bail. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to understand how the legal system works and what your options are.

What is Bail?

Bail is a sum of money that is paid to the court as a guarantee that you will appear for all scheduled court hearings. If you can’t afford to pay bail yourself, you can use the services of a bail bondsman who will post bail on your behalf in exchange for a fee.

What Happens if You Can’t Make Bail?

If you can’t make bail, you will be held in jail until your court hearing. This can take anywhere from a few days to several months depending on the complexity of your case and the court’s schedule.

Factors That Affect Bail Amount

The amount of bail that is set depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The nature and severity of the crime you are accused of
  • Your criminal history
  • Your ties to the community (such as family, employment, and property ownership)
  • The likelihood that you will flee the jurisdiction if released on bail
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In some cases, bail may be denied altogether if the judge believes that you are a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Can Bail Be Reduced?

If the bail amount is too high for you to pay, you can ask the court to reduce it. This is typically done through a bail reduction hearing, where your attorney will argue that the bail amount is excessive based on the circumstances of your case. If the judge agrees, your bail will be reduced to a more manageable amount.

What Happens if You Violate Bail Conditions?

If you are released on bail, there will be conditions that you must follow. These conditions may include:

  • Staying away from certain people or places
  • Checking in regularly with a probation officer
  • Refraining from alcohol and drugs
  • Not committing any further crimes

If you violate any of these conditions, your bail may be revoked and you will be taken back into custody.


Being unable to make bail can be a stressful and difficult experience, but it’s important to understand your rights and options. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and advocate for your best interests. Remember that the length of time you will stay in jail depends on a number of factors, but with the right representation, you may be able to secure a more manageable bail amount or get released on your own recognizance.

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