A Guide to Bail and Bail Bonds
When someone is arrested, they call someone to secure their bail bond so that they can get released. Unless you have dealt with this in the past, there’s a good chance you’ve learned the things you know about bail bonds from television. There’s a lot more to it than the judge banging a gavel and saying what the bail is.
Bail is simply an agreement between a defendant and the court. The defendant will agree to come to their court dates, and the court will then return the money to the defendant after the end of the trial. When the bail is set, the defendant will pay the amount so that they are released. But if they don’t go to their dates and misses even just one date, they forfeit the money, and they’ll also have an arrest warrant issued. But when they go to their hearings, they’ll get the money returned to them even if they are found guilty.
If a defendant can’t pay the bail, they’ll stay there until the case done. Since that can go on for months, a lot of people want to make bail. But if they don’t have the money up front, they can use a bail bond so that they’re released.
When is Bail Set?
When a person is arrested, they’re taken to jail. Their personal information and name is put into the computer and their fingerprints and picture are taken. Any personal belongings they have on them are put in the impound. Then they are given a test to make sure they’re sober, they’re allowed to make a phone call, and then they are taken to a cell. There will be a hearing scheduled when the judge determines the amount of bail, and it’s usually set no longer than 48 hours after the arrest.
How do they determine the amount?
The majority of jurisdictions have a schedule for bail that they use for determining an amount. The person’s past, and their employment status will also factor into the amount. The judge can reduce the amount of bail, or even completely discard it if this is a first offense. But if the person has been in trouble with the law for a long time, and it’s believed that the person is a flight risk, the judge may raise the amount or even revoke bail.
Sometimes a jurisdiction will assign bail when the suspect is booked, even without a hearing. This only usually applies to offenses that are low level. The police will tell the person if they can immediately post and sometimes they can use their credit card to pay.
Different Kinds of Bonds
- Surety Bond: There are agents working with insurance companies and these companies provide financial backing. When bail bonds have been secured in this way, they’re called surety bonds.
- Property Bond: When the defendant has some kind of property, such as a house, it’s possible they’ll be able to use it rather than cash. There will be a lien placed on the house and can sell it if the person doesn’t appear.
- Released on Their Own Recognizance: Sometimes a judge might release a person without bail. This will usually only happen if the person has committed a crime that’s low level and the judge doesn’t think they’ll flee.
- Cite Out: When someone’s caught doing an illegal activity, the police office might give them a citation. This gives them a court date and helps them avoid jail.
- Immigration Bond: When someone’s detained by the ICE department, this type of bond will help them be released until their hearing’s done.
There are a lot of things that go into a bail bond. But now you know what a bail bond is and how it can help you if you are ever arrested.
We are located within walking distance of the Lee County and Hendry County Jails. We offer prompt, courteous services to obtain the quick release of our clients from Southwest Florida detention facilities. We also offer bond postings outside our local area through our Surety Network. We accept all major credit cards, Western Union, and personal checks.