A person gets arrested in the United States every three seconds. Their crimes range from small misdemeanors to violent felonies.
Many of those arrested aren’t kept in custody while awaiting trial. Instead, they use bail bonds to secure their release while awaiting sentencing.
But what if you need bail money because you can’t afford the costs upfront? What bond options are available? Continue reading to find out.
What Is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond allows someone in custody to earn release before their criminal case goes to trial. The person will usually have to pay the court a set amount called “bail.” It isn’t always necessary to pay this amount, however.
A judge will need to determine whether a person is eligible. The judge will look at several factors before deciding whether a person can make bail. If the judge determines they can, conditions usually apply.
The defendant receiving bail can be taken back into custody if they fail to meet the conditions. They will sign a contract after posting bail agreeing to everything detailed by the judge.
What Conditions Might Apply?
Not all conditions will need to be met by each defendant. The most common bail conditions include:
- Regular check-ins
- No-contact orders
- Continued employment
- Travel restrictions
- Discontinuing the use of drugs or alcohol
- No firearms (even if the crime didn’t involve the use of a gun)
Many of the conditions revolve around the severity of the crime. The defendant’s previous criminal history is also a significant consideration.
What Are the Types of Bail Bonds?
There are several different bail bonds a person might be able to use. Which bail bond a person receives will depend on what the judge ordered and what a person can afford. Learn about the types of bonds below.
A person can choose a cash bond if they have the full amount to pay in cash. Sometimes, the judge will state a person must pay the bail in full before they’re released. This means they aren’t eligible for certain other bond types.
The reason for ordering a mandatory cash bond varies. It’s up to the judge’s discretion. They might order this for someone who has skipped bail before but who hasn’t committed any serious crimes.
Own Recognizance Bond
This is also known as an OR bond. With this type of bond, a bail amount isn’t even set. Instead, the defendant will sign a contract stating they’ll appear for court proceedings. Once the paper receives approval, the defendant is released.
Receiving an own recognizance bond is the best-case scenario. It’s typically only available for first-time offenders. The crime committed will usually be minor.
A signature bond is like an OR bond. The difference is that a bail amount is set. The defendant is released when they sign a contract, but they don’t have to pay the bail.
If the defendant fails to attend their court hearings, they’ll be arrested. They will then be required to pay the full bail amount initially set by the judge. If they attend all court hearings, the bail money never has to be paid.
A secured bond is another option for people who can’t pay upfront in cash. It requires the defendant or a family member to offer up collateral in exchange for release.
These bonds are often called “property bonds” because real estate is the most common collateral. Other types of collateral might be accepted. Some people offer vehicle titles or expensive jewelry.
If the defendant attends their court date, they get to keep the items they offered for collateral. If they fail to attend, the things they provided can be seized.
A surety bond requires the defendant to work with a bail bondsman. A family member or close friend of the defendant will pay a percentage of the total bail cost. The percentage necessary varies.
A bondsman might also accept a form of collateral that is at least as much as their standard percentage. In this case, the item might have to remain with the bondsman until the person has attended court.
In exchange for the fee or collateral, a bondsman will front the rest of the bail. This allows the defendant to be released from custody without paying the full bail amount.
It’s important to note that the payments made on a surety bond aren’t refundable. The items offered as collateral might be returned, but cash payments are not. With other types of bonds, the fees are refunded if the defendant attends all court dates.
When Can a Person Not Be Released on Bail?
Not everyone qualifies for bail bonds. In certain circumstances, the judge will deny the defendant bail. If bail is denied, the person will have to remain in custody until their court date.
A judge considers many things when determining whether a person can post bail. Although it’s up to their discretion, judges usually give the defendant the benefit of the doubt.
If a person has skipped bail before, they might not be allowed release. If a person has committed a violent crime or has a lengthy criminal history, they also might not be allowed to post bail.
Do You Have More Questions About Bail Money or Bonds?
A bail bond allows for defendants to be released from custody before their hearing. There are several types of bonds a person might use. There are usually conditions attached to the person’s release.
Do you have more questions about bail money or bonds? Or, do you need help getting a loved one released from custody?
Contact us today. One of our associates would be happy to answer any questions you still have. Or, they can help you with the bail bonds process if desired.