If you have a loved one who has been arrested and is now behind bars, you’re likely frantic with worry. You probably also want to find a way for them to get out of jail as quickly as possible.
You’ve likely seen enough TV and movies to know that often you can pay to get out of jail. You’ve heard of posting bail.
But maybe you don’t really know what’s involved in the process, and now you need to know. Read on for the complete guide on bail, what it is and how you can make bail to get someone out of jail.
What Is Bail and Bail Bond?
Let’s start with the basics and understand what it means to get bail, not be confused with bail bonds.
Bail is the money paid to the court to allow the release of someone who has been arrested. The purpose of paying the bail to the court is to act as a guarantee that the accused will return to court as required.
Often though, bail is set at a high enough amount of money that most people can afford to pay it. This is where a bail bond comes in.
If you’re unable to pay the bail amount yourself, you have a loved one go to the bail bonds office to seek a bond. There is typically collateral and a cash deposit required to get a bail bond.
Most bail bonds charge a 15% upfront premium fee to write a bond and get a release. This means that if the bail is set at $50,000, there would need to be $7,500 paid to get the bond.
The bond amount is how much you need for the bail bonds office to write a bond for the court.
Often people will use other forms of collateral if they can come up with the cash, like cars or property.
What Happens After an Arrest?
When the person arrested isn’t immediately eligible for bail, don’t be surprised. There is a process before bail can ever get considered.
Once arrested, the accused would get taken to the police station for booking. Police will likely want to begin their investigation and question the suspect too.
At the time of booking, a criminal history gets run. This would be for minor offenses and for someone with no criminal background. Sometimes if the crime is minor, the accused can pay predetermined cash bail and get out of jail very quickly.
Once booked, typically, the accused must appear before a judge to hear charges. At this point, a judge will consider bail and also hear whether the prosecution thinks bail is appropriate.
Who Sets the Bail?
The bail amount needed depends on several factors. Many states will have bail amounts set for certain crimes without appearing before a judge.
This means that the crime is likely not as severe. The amount is preset without factoring in any other considerations.
If the crime is more severe, then the judge will be the one to set bail. Even with a judge hearing the case, many courts have bail schedules that act as guidelines for a judge to follow when considering bail amounts needed for release.
What Influences Bail?
Beyond the standard bail schedule, a number of factors get considered when deciding if a person can get bail and how much the bail amount needs to be.
First, a judge will consider the crime of which the person is being accused. Have they been accused of a crime like this before?
Then the judge will likely look at the person’s criminal history asking for bail. Is this a first run-in with the law, or are they a regular in the courts because of other unlawful behavior.
Will they be a risk to others if they’re released from jail? Finally, the judge will consider if they are a flight risk. Will they run off if released from jail? How likely are they to show up for future court dates?
Understanding the Types of Bail
There are various types of bail that a person might use to get released from jail.
The simplest bail is cash bail. This means the accused pays the court cash to make the bail amount so they can be released.
Most courts accept actual cash, debit, and credit cards. Once the cash bond is paid, the accused meets their obligation to the court, and the cash is returned.
The problem with a cash bond is that most people don’t have that much cash.
The next type of bail is a surety bond, which is the most common. This is the type where someone would seek the assistance of a bail bonds business.
After paying a percentage of the bail and often collateral to the bail bondsman, they write a surety bond to the court seeking the release of the accused.
You’ve likely seen on TV or in a movie when someone’s released on their own recognizance. A recognizance release means the person is well known enough and there isn’t a concern of them fleeing. They are released based on who they are without actually paying anything.
A federal bond is a bail for a federal crime. Other types of bonds include a property bond, which means that property is used instead of cash to secure a release. Often these are much higher in value and more difficult to secure.
Finally, an immigration bond is one paid for a crime related to immigration status.
Get Out of Jail With Bail Bonds
While the goal might be to get your loved one out of jail as quickly as possible, it’s good to understand the process that happens before that’s possible.
If someone you love needs to get out of jail, we can help. Contact us today so we can get started working to secure the bail bond your loved one needs.