Bail vs Bond Options To Help You After an Arrest
If law enforcement places you under arrest, what happens next may be foreign to you. You may hear the terms bail vs bond thrown around, but you may not fully understand what they mean.
In fact, it is easy to confuse the terms bail and bond. It is also common to have confusion about how they can get you out of jail. To ensure you understand your rights, it is important to learn as much as possible about these terms.
Bail Vs Bond
Bail is an umbrella term to describe the options a judge gives you to get out of jail fast and remain free until your trial for the alleged crime and receive a conviction or acquittal. Essentially, it is the only way to avoid sitting in jail until the end of your trial.
Bail is insurance that you will appear in court when ordered. Bail usually requires you to make a financial commitment guaranteeing you will show up to court. If you post bail but then don’t show up to your court hearing, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. You’ll lose any bail you put up, and you’ll be in even more legal trouble.
A judge may not set bail in every case. He or she may decide you are a risk for fleeing or not showing up to your future court dates and refuse to set it. In addition, judges may not set bail if they feel the accused is a danger to society.
Bond is one way to pay bail. If you cannot pay the full amount of bail set by the court, you may need to work with a bail bond company. This company guarantees your bail for the full amount. This means it will tell the court you will show up or it will pay the full bail amount. Speak with one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your best bail vs bond options after your arrest.
The Process of Posting Bail
When an officer arrests you, he or she will take you to jail and book you for the alleged crime. You will then go into a jail cell to wait to see a judge.
Your first time before a judge is your bail hearing. This hearing usually happens within 48 hours unless it is the weekend or there is a holiday and the court is not in session.
The judge will set your bail during the hearing based upon the facts of the case and your specific situation. Sometimes, there are standard bail amounts for certain charges. The jail may have a pre-set list of bail amounts you can refer to in order to start working on getting the money you need or making other arrangements prior to your hearing. Connect to one of our attorneys and get the best advice on bails vs bonds and keep you from sitting in jail.
Paying Your Bail
When it comes to paying your bail, you may pay it in full by cash, credit card or check. You may also put up property worth the amount of bail, such as an expensive watch. You would then submit that watch to court to hold until the judge releases you from bail.
If you need to use a bond to pay for your bail, then you will need to contact a bail bond company. To receive a bond, you will pay a nonrefundable fee of about 10% to 20% of the total bail amount to the bond provider. You will also have to provide some type of collateral to pay the remaining amount of the bail. The bond company will seize this collateral if you fail to meet the conditions of your bail.
You will sign a contract with the bail bond company, which is known as a surety bond. You may have to check in with the bond company regularly to assure them you’re still around and plan to show up to your court hearing.
If you fail to appear in court, the bond company must pay the remainder of the bond amount using the collateral you provided and the money you paid upfront. They may then hire a bounty hunter to find you. This is independent of the court, which will send officers to look for you.
If you do appear in court, the bail bond dissolves. The bond company walks away with the 10% or 20% of the bond amount that you paid upfront as payment for its services.
If you aren’t able to afford the bail amount, you may request the judge lower it. The procedures for requesting a lower bail vary by state. It’s helpful to have a trusted attorney at your side to help you navigate the bail vs bond process.
Additionally, a reliable and experienced attorney will defend your rights if your bail is excessive. This protection comes from the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that specifically states that the bail amount cannot be unmanageable, can’t be treated as a primary source of income for the government, and can’t be used as punishment of the arrested individual.
You May Be Able to Get Out of Jail for Free
An experienced attorney may be able to make a case for your pretrial release for free. This is called a personal recognizance bond. This means that you promise to comply with the conditions of release, including showing up at your court hearings. To secure this bond, you sign a document to legally guarantee your responsibility under the personal recognizance agreement.
Your attorney may help you receive such release if you are highly unlikely to flee due to strong community or family ties and have almost no criminal record.
Conditions of Bail
If you have successfully secured bail, there are conditions you must comply with. If you do not honor the conditions, the judge can revoke your bail and have law enforcement arrest you. The conditions of your bail will depend on the criminal charge at hand.
A core requirement of all conditions, regardless of the criminal charge, is that you obey all laws. However, there may also be conditions specific to your case. For example, if your charge is domestic abuse, your bail conditions may include that you stay away from and do not have any contact with the alleged victim.
Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer
Going through an arrest is a stressful situation, and having an experienced attorney by your side can help you navigate the process while also protecting your rights. An attorney can also help you avoid having to sit in jail throughout your trial by appealing to the judge for reasonable bail.
It is essential to hire an attorney who has experience in your state’s criminal laws. The criminal legal system is quite complex. Having someone on your side who knows and understands the law is essential to protecting yourself. In addition, he or she will be better able to provide guidance specific to your case.
Contact a criminal justice attorney near you to defend your rights and secure your freedom. Discuss your bail vs bond options now.
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