Money or a bond that must be deposited to secure the release of an individual who has been charged with a minor or serious crime. Bail for minor crimes is often set by a schedule that must be paid before a court appearance. For serious crimes, a judge may set the bail amount at the suspect's first court appearance. Bail may be denied in instances such as murder or treason or if there is a danger that the suspect may flee or commit further crimes. For traffic matters, the bail amount may be equivalent to the fine, so if the defendant does not appear, he or she automatically forfeits bail.