How to Post Bail
After you are arrested, you will be placed in jail until your trial date. With the American court system bogged down the way it is, this can turn into a lengthy period of time. The main reason for this “booking” is to not only ensure that an individual will not harm anyone else, but to ensure that a suspect will show up to court for their trial.
To avoid lengthy prison stays, courts offer suspects an opportunity to leave jail by posting bail. Bail is an amount of money determined by a judge in relation to the seriousness of a crime that a suspect can pay to get out of jail. Posting bail is an agreement that a suspect will appear in court. When a suspect shows up for his or her court date, their bail money is returned to them. Failure to appear in court will result in a forfeiture of the money posted for bail.
Many suspects are not able to pay the amount of bond required for their release from jail and must rely on bail bondsmen. Bail bondsmen are individuals or corporations that post bail for suspects awaiting trial. Generally, bail bondsmen require a suspect to pay 10% of the bail and the bondsman will cover the remaining 90%. If a suspect shows up to court under this arrangement, the bail bondsman retains the 10% of the bail money they received as a fee for their services. If a suspect does not show up to court under this agreement, the bondsman is out 90% of the bail costs.
If you are not sure which bail bondsman to use, ask the attorney you plan to hire. It is often a good idea to hire the attorney first because a good attorney is often able to get the bail amount reduced or even waived depending on the charges. When bail is waived, you may be released on your own recognizance. That means you are trusted to appear for your scheduled court date without having to supply financial security that will ensure your appearance.
Some states do not allow bail bondsmen and instead, offer suspects a 10% alternative. In these states, a suspect may pay 10% to the jurisdiction where they are held to be released from jail. Upon appearing in court, suspects generally receive their 10% back. If a suspect fails to appear in court, they are liable to pay the remaining 90% or property may be seized to make up the difference.
Deciding whether or not to bail a friend or family member out of jail can be difficult. If you know that someone is a danger to other people, jail may be the best place for them. Likewise, if you think alleged victims may retaliate against your loved one, jail may be the safest place for them to be. Also, if you are planning on being reimbursed for bailing a friend or family member out of jail, be sure to get that agreement in writing. If you do bail out a friend or loved one, it is important to make sure that they show up for their court appearance. Failure to appear in court means that your bail money will not be returned to you.