When someone breaks the law, they often have to post cash bail. They can contact a bail bond agent for help if they lack money.
This person posts the bond for them and guarantees they will appear at all court dates. They may also be required to provide collateral such as a property equity bond.
When a person is arrested, police may choose whether to “cite you out” with a ticket and a court date or take you to jail. If taken to jail, the officers will determine what charges to file and make an initial determination that you will be required to post bail for release.
Once at the jail, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. You will also be checked for outstanding warrants and searched. During the process, you will be informed of your rights and asked if you want to call a lawyer.
After your arrest, a pre-trial services staff member will interview you for personal information and review the bond amount set by the police. Ideally, you will have an experienced criminal defense attorney present for this interview to argue that the bond should be reduced or eliminated. Bail can be posted in cash or with a certified cashier or traveler’s check. Licensed bondsmen can also post bail for you for a non-refundable fee.
The Bail Hearing
Once the court sets bail, it can be paid in cash or an approved form of payment such as a money order or cashier’s check. Alternatively, it may be posted through a bail bond near me agency.
Your defense attorney will request a bail hearing at your arraignment (first court appearance). At this hearing, the judge can leave the bail amount as is, increase it, decrease it, or release you on your recognizance (O.R).
The prosecutor will present evidence at the bail hearing, including the seriousness of your alleged offense(s) and whether you are considered a flight risk. The more flight risk the defendant is, the higher the court will set bail. If the accused fails to show up for court and cannot post bail, they will remain in jail until their trial date. In some cases, a failure to appear is a felony offense in and of itself and can result in an additional prison sentence.
The Bail Amount
A judge will consider the defendant’s prior criminal history in addition to the seriousness of the crime. If the accused has a lengthy record, the court will often set bail higher than usual to help deter them from skipping out on their trial.
The judge will also examine the defendant’s financial situation when setting bail. This includes whether or not they have a stable job, a home, and family members who depend on them for support. A judge will usually view these factors as making them less of a flight risk and more likely to return to their trial on time.
If a defendant cannot post bail, they may ask a friend or relative to do so. They can also contact a bail bondsman. Bail bond companies are for-profit businesses that charge a non-refundable fee to post a defendant’s bond. This fee is typically 10 to 20 percent of the total bond amount.
The Conditions of Release
A court will typically establish bail in the form of money or a property deposit to guarantee that the defendant will attend all upcoming court sessions. A person can post their bail or hire a licensed bail bondsperson.
A criminal defense lawyer can often get your bail reduced or eliminated by arguing that you are a good candidate for pre-trial release. Moreover, the right attorney may be able to secure a non-cash bail option like community service or electronic monitoring.
The best practice is to ensure you can afford the bail amount and meet all the required court procedures. The most successful pre-trial systems use a matrix based on research designed to support the consistent application of release conditions based on the assessed likelihood of pre-trial success. It also aligns with statutes and local policies and considers available resources.