Ending up in a jail cell for the night isn’t a dream of anyone. If one finds himself in a cell, the first thing that comes to mind is “how do I get out of here as quickly as possible?”.
Posting bail is one of the simplest answers. This option isn’t allowed to all charges, but if the judge deems it proper, a person can post bail. You might be wondering what comes next if you don’t have enough funds to post bail as soon as possible? Where do you turn for help? What is bail bond and what it bail bond procedure? Read on to know more.
What happens after being arrested?
When you get arrested by a police officer you go to a police department, if you don’t make bail the next step would be going to court and if you don’t bond out from there, you go to jail.
During the booking process, the officers will generally record your personal information. Your name, date of birth and physical characteristics will be noted. Next, they will record information about the alleged crime. They will then record your fingerprints and photographs. They will also check your criminal background and collect any personal property like keys phone or purse.
After all these, you’ll be placed in a police station holding cell or local jail.
“Own Recognizance” Release
After you’ve been booked, arranging your release is next. The main concern of the authorities is your presence in the future court dates. In some cases, you may be eligible to be released on your own recognizance. It means that you write and promise to appear in court later on. Note that a judge gets to decide whether you’ll be granted own recognizance release. The following factors are considered:
- The severity of the crime
- Your criminal record
- If you pose a possible danger to the community
- Your ties to the community to weigh whether you are a risk to flee
Sometimes, a written promise to appear in your court date schedule will not be deemed enough. With serious considerations, the court will want a financial guarantee for your attendance. This is where bail comes into play.
You will be released if you pay a set amount of money. As part of the whole process, you promise to appear in court for all your criminal proceeding schedules. If you show up, the bail amount will be returned to you. You will forfeit the bail amount if you don’t appear in court.
The following are the factors that the court considers in deciding for the appropriate bail amount:
- Your financial resources
- Your physical and mental condition
- History related to drug and alcohol abuse
- Your family ties
- Your criminal history
- Previous records regarding your appearance at court proceedings
- Residency length in the community
What is a bail bond?
Say you have been charged for an offense and you end up in jail. For you to have your release while waiting for your trial date, you can pay the bail upfront. If you don’t have enough cash to pay the bail, a bail bondsman enters the picture. Now for you to avail his service, you need to pay the bail bond.
A bail bond is a percentage of bail that you pay to the bond agency. This amount of money is necessary so that they can pay the remaining amount and you may be released from jail to wait for your court date.
Every state follows its own bail bond rules and unique processes. All of them have the basics. Typically, you need to pay 10% to 15% of the original bail amount. Note that the bail amount varies depending on the severeness of the crime and your criminal history if there’s any.
How does bail bond work?
Bond agencies can secure the remaining bail amount because of their contractual agreements with the banks or credit agencies and the local government. It means that they can access funds even if the creditor isn’t open. Sometimes, bond agencies gave agreements with the court system. This agreement allows them only to have to put up a percentage of the original bail amount.
This amount of freedom allows bond companies to be accessible to anyone who needs to post bail any time of the day. As the bail bond agent needs a form of security or collateral for the bond, you will need to sign a contract. Some bond agents will require you to give pieces of jewelry they can sell to recover the full bond amount. Also, the agent might also need you or the paying party to sign a security interest in a home, car or other properties that the bond agent can sell if the defendant fails to appear in court.
Note that if you’re released, and you don’t appear on the court date, and the bail bondsman can’t locate you, the bond company has to pay for the remaining amount of money to the court. Continue Reading on How Does Bail Bond Work
What happens if you fail to appear in court dates?
Aside from forfeiture of the bail bond, if you fail to appear in court or you violated bail terms, the bail bond agent can try to find the defendant. The agent can try to bring you into custody and take you back to the police. Bond companies have this power because they’re granted a grace period after the defendant violates bail terms. If the company can return you to the police custody within that grace period, the court might not require the agent to pay the full bail amount.
The bail bond agent can also employ a bounty hunter also known as enforcement agents. They can help to track and to apprehend you. These people aren’t law enforcement officers or not government employees. It means that they don’t have general arrest powers, but then they can arrest you because you used the bail bond agent’s services. This also means that bounty hunters have the power to enter your home and arrest you.
Laws vary significantly from state to state. Not all states are allowing bail bond services or employing bounty hunters.