You’ve really done it this time — and you got caught. Or maybe you were woken from a sound sleep late at night by a ringing phone call that alerts you that someone you know and love has been arrested. Regardless of who is in jail, the only way to get them out is probably going to be expensive, and if you are short on cash, posting bail may seem impossible.
What is Bail?
If you have never faced legal troubles before, you may not understand exactly what bail is. Basically, it is an insurance policy for the court that the person under arrest will show up for their hearings after being released from jail. Depending on the crime, bail can be very low or extremely high. It usually is somewhere between $10,000 and $100,000.
By asking for this amount of money (which can be paid as a lien against property), the court is ensuring that the arrested individual won’t run. If they do, the court can keep all of the bail monies.
How is Bail Set?
Once a person has been arrested, there are several ways in which bail can be set, depending on the severity of the crime, of course.
A set bail schedule. Some municipalities (especially in larger cities) have a set schedule for certain crimes, which automatically sets the bail. This type of listing allows the court to more quickly handle arrests and releases. Be warned, as it usually only is offered in smaller non-violent crimes.
Going before the judge. The standard way bail is set is through a bail hearing. This is done in front of a judge who can set bail in any amount they wish. While the law does restrict judges from setting bail too high, it is rarely disputed. Besides, until you can get a hearing to dispute bail, the amount is set, and you must pay to be released. Some of the things a judge considers when setting bail is the severity of the crime, your criminal history, extenuating circumstances, your attitude at the hearing, and whether or not you are a flight risk.
Once the court has set a person’s bail, it can be paid in cash, check, money order, through a property lien, or with a bonding company.
If you don’t have the money yourself (or can’t find anyone to lend it to you), a bonding company can be called. These professionals are willing to post bail for individuals for a fee of 10-20 percent. So, if your bail is set at $10,000, you will owe the bail bond agent between $1,000 and $2,000 for taking care of it for you. Once paid, you are free to go but must agree to attend all court hearings until your case is closed. Once the entire process is over (which can take months), the original bail amount is returned to the agent. Your only responsibility will be to pay the associated fees.
Posting bail isn’t a complicated endeavor, but if you don’t have the cash on hand, it can seem overwhelming. That is where Free At Last Bail Bonds step in. We are fully committed to reuniting families. If you or a loved one needs our services, we are here for you 24 hours a day at 404-577-2245.