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Dealing With Bail

If you’ve been arrested, you can be released from jail in three ways:

  • They release you with a citation
  • They release you on your own recognizance (O.R.)
  • They release you through a bail bond

Bail is a cash payment or a cash equivalent payment (like a pledge of personal property) that is intended to assure the authorities that the defendant will make all necessary court appearances before and/or after a conviction.

Setting Bail

Each county has a standard bail schedule that specifies the amount of bail for most crimes. If you’re arrested, you can often get out of jail right away by paying bail.

If you want to post bail but you don’t have enough money to pay the amount required by the bail schedule, you can request a judge reduce the bail amount. You can do this at the first court appearance (the arraignment) or by requesting a special bail hearing.

The amount of bail set varies; however, it is usually set by the judge based on the following factors:

  • The severity of the alleged crime
  • Whether the defendant has prior convictions
  • Whether the defendant poses a flight risk
  • Whether the defendant poses a threat to public safety
  • The defendant’s financial situation

If you fail to show up to court, bail may be permanently forfeited.

Posting Bail

When posting bail, any of the following forms are usually accepted:

  • Paying the full amount of bail. For example, if the court or police set bail at $1,000, you may post the full amount in cash or by credit card.
  • Purchasing a bail bond (guaranteed payment of the bail) from a bondsman who charges a non-refundable premium (usually 7-10 percent of bail) For example, if the court or police set bail at $2,000, then you can purchase a bail bond for about $200. The bondsman  pays the bail in full if you fail to show up in court.
  • Depositing property (equivalent to the bail amount) with the court. For example, if the court or police set bail at $2,000, you can post your $2,000 watch as bail.

Conditions Of Release

When you bail out, you are required comply with “conditions of release.” If you fail to comply with the conditions, a judge may revoke your bail and have you arrested and returned to jail. One common bail condition is that the defendant must “obey all laws.” Other conditions may be specific to the crime committed. For example, a suspect for domestic violence must not contact the alleged domestic violence victim.

If you’re facing criminal charges and you need help dealing with bail, the attorneys at Chastaine Jones can help you understand the legal process of posting bail. Call us at 916-312-6808 or send us an email to arrange a time that works for you.