If you or a loved one has the misfortune to be jailed after an arrest, you might want to learn a thing or two about how bail is set and how bail bonds work. Read on and find out more.
Your Bail Costs Nothing
The least expensive way to get out of jail is on your own recognizance. That means that the defendant understands the importance of returning for future court appointments and is judged to be responsible enough to follow all the other rules. Own recognizance releases may be possible for first-time offenders and those charged with misdemeanors. This type of release means the defendant must follow some of the same rules or conditions that those released using money do.
Common criminal offenses such as driving under the influence (DUI) may have bail already set. Bail schedules are often posted in the jail for arrestees to view and that means they can begin making bail arrangements right away rather than waiting for an arraignment or bail hearing. Those that are offered bail this way can pay their own bail and be released although many must make other arrangements. Not all charges will fit a bail schedule and not everyone arrested may be eligible for bail at any price.
Bail Set by the Judge
Sooner or later, almost everyone arrested will appear before a judge to discuss several important issues, bail being one of them. Bail set by a judge can vary within a range and it's up to the judge's discretion when setting the amount. The judge uses several factors to determine bail amounts:
- The defendant's record.
- The seriousness of the current charges (i.e., violent vs. non-violent).
- Age, employment, citizenship, and family ties to the local community.
Bail Based on an Algorithm
Data from past arrests can predict chances of a defendant returning to face charges and is used to determine bail by some judges. This program is controversial since the data may be based on a disparity in race in the past (and ongoing in some instances).
How to Use a Bail Bond
No matter how bail is set, defendants have a choice in the way they use bail and the amount they pay. They can pay the full amount of bail to the court and then get that money refunded once the case is over. Or they can pay a bail bonding agent a small percentage (between 5% and 20% but it varies) of the bail and be released.
Don't sit in jail any longer than necessary. Speak to a local bail bondsman and learn more about the easy and affordable way to get of jail.