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Bail

Civil Actions

A defendant in a civil action can be arrested to ensure that he or she will appear in court to respond to the plaintiff's claims. Civil arrest prevents a defendant from leaving the jurisdiction to evade the litigation, and from attempting to conceal or dispose of assets in order to keep the plaintiff from collecting on the judgment if the plaintiff prevails. Since civil arrest is a drastic remedy, state laws must be consulted to determine when it may be used. The purpose of bail in a civil action is to ensure the presence of the defendant at trial and to guarantee the payment of a debt or the fulfillment of some civil duty, as ordered by the court.

The court sets the amount of bail, which is generally based on the probable amount of damage against the defendant. In some instances, if informed of changed circumstances, the court might increase or reduce bail. Cash, as opposed to a bail bond, may be deposited with the court only when authorized by statute. The purpose of the arrest and the statutory provisions determine whether this deposit may be used to pay the judgment awarded to the plaintiff.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Autopsy to Bill of LadingBail - Civil Actions, Criminal Prosecutions, Discretion Of The Court, Breach And Forfeiture, Further Readings