Bail was a concept designed to prevent people from spending a long time in jail while waiting for their hearing. If you find yourself being charged with a crime and held pending a hearing, posting bail gets you back home to your family. But if the bail amount is higher than what you can come up with, the bail bond process is there to help. Here is how a bail bond still gets you out of the cell and back home again.
The crime you're charged with will be considered bailable or non-bailable. Serious crimes, such as manslaughter, have no bail and require you to be in custody until your hearing. A bailable crime, such as shoplifting, has a range of bail amounts associated with it. A judge uses guidelines to set the bail amount. They will take into account your previous record and the likelihood that you'll come in for your hearing.
This is a good time to have a lawyer representing you. They will ask the judge to consider several factors when establishing the bail amount:
- Your reputation as an honest person shows that you will show up for your hearing.
- Your financial status makes it difficult for you to post a high bail.
- Your responsibilities at home make it important for you to be at home and not in jail.
Your lawyer will try to get the bail set as low as possible.
Your Next Steps
Once bail is set, you have the following options:
- Post the bail in cash and get out of custody.
- Decline to post bail and stay in custody.
When you post bail, the court gives you a receipt for the cash. When you return for your hearing, you'll present the receipt and get your money back.
If the bail amount is too high, and you still want to post bail, you'll now talk with a bail bonds service.
Think of a bail bond as a short-term loan. For a fee, the service will post the bail amount for you so you can go home. When you come in for your hearing, the service gets their money back from the court.
If you fail to appear at your hearing, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and the local law enforcement will try to find you. The bail bond service will also look for you because they lose their money if you don't show up. The service is highly motivated to find you before local law enforcement. If the sheriff's office finds you first and brings you in, then the bond service loses their money. This is why the service has personnel trained to locate those who have "skipped out" on their bail.
Understand What You're Getting Into
Before using a bail bond service, make sure you have the intention to show up for your hearing. If you miss it for any reason, there will be many people looking for you. Your record will show that you missed your hearing, which will make it harder on you in the future, should you be charged with a crime. You'll also have difficulty finding a bail bond service that will take a risk on you without charging you a high fee. For more information about bail bonds, contact a business such as Brad's Bail Bonds.