No one wants to find their loved one behind bars. And yet, arrests are happening all around the country at an increasingly higher and higher rate. If your loved one is in police custody, the thing you likely want more than anything is to see them back home.
If you haven’t had previous experience with the bail system, you might not know how it works. It may seem complicated or confusing to navigate, especially in this stressful and emotional time.
With that said, understanding how posting bail works can be the key to getting your loved one back to safety and comfort as soon as possible. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the bail posting process.
Understanding Bail and Bail Bonds
If you are unfamiliar with the bail process, it’s best to go over the basics first. Bail is a sum of money set by a judge. Each state has it’s own bail system, and paying the bail amount allows an imprisoned person to go free until the date of their trial.
Bail is set to help ensure that a person will return for their trial if they get released from prison. Several factors go into setting the amount of bail, including the severity of a crime and an individual’s past criminal history.
Bail amounts can often be quite high. This is so the individual in question does not forfeit the money and avoid showing up at their court date. Many courts have pre-set bail amounts assigned to various offenses.
In some severe cases, a judge may decide that an individual should not have bail granted and must remain behind bars. This, however, is a rare circumstance.
Bail is usually paid during office hours at the courthouse or after hours at the jail itself. You can use cash or check to pay bail, and can also pay it by putting up property worth the full value of the bail.
Last but not least, you can pay it via a bond, which is a guaranteed payment of the full bond amount. But where does one get a bail bond?
What Is A Bail Bond?
Bail sums are often so high that families have a hard time affording them. In these situations, a bail bond can be a huge help.
What is a bail bond? It is a time of surety bond provided by a bond company or bond bail agent. In this situation, a bail bondsman covers the bail on behalf of the family and secures a quick release. In return for this service, a bondsman will charge a small fee (usually around 10% of the bail).
In most cases, the family or friends of a loved one will need to provide payment or collateral upfront to secure a bond. After this payment, a bail bondsman will contact the courts and get the individual released.
If the defendant fails to show for their court date, the family will be responsible for the full bail amount. The bail bondsman might also use the services of a bounty hunter to bring a defendant back for their court date. A bail bondsman might also be able to sue if a person does not show up for their court date.
Conditions of Bail
There are a few legal conditions that surround the bail process. On one side, there is the Eighth Amendment, which protects arrested individuals against excessive bail amounts.
The Amendment states that government entities, such as the state or county, cannot use bail to raise money for the government. They also cannot use bail to punish a person for committing a suspected crime. This does not necessarily stop some judges from setting very high bail amounts, but the severity of the case must be a match for the bail number.
Bailed-out individuals must comply with given conditions of release. These conditions might vary from state to state, and it’s important to inquire about your local specifics. Violation of these conditions can send an individual immediately back behind bars.
Common conditions include ‘obeying all laws,’ but there may be more specific conditions placed on an individual. For example, if a person gets arrested for abusing their partner, a likely condition would be for that person to stay away from their spouse while released.
There are a few instances where the release of an individual may not require bail. These releases are ‘O.R. releases,’ or an on their own recognize release.
An O.R. release will send an individual home as long as they promise to show up for their given court date. Most individuals request an O.R. release, but only those that the courts consider low-risk will find such a request granted by a judge.
If a defendant has strong ties to a community or a low-chance of feeling, they are more likely to obtain an O.R. release. Employment and a lack of prior criminal record are also helpful in securing such a release.
These factors are also a contributing factor in deciding what the bail amount will be set at for an individual.
The Process Of Posting Bail
There’s no worse situation then finding a loved one behind bars. But if you’ve found yourself in such a situation, you must understand the above information about posting bail. Taking the proper steps can ensure the return of your loved one to a safe and comfortable environment.
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