What is bail? It is the money given to the court by someone who has been arrested. This gives them temporary freedom from imprisonment and ensures that they will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the accused doesn’t comply with this, the court is obligated to keep the bail as well as issue a warrant for their arrest.
The purpose of bail is for the accused to have their freedom until they are convicted or acquitted of the crime they were arrested for. Bail is necessary to keep them from fleeing or escaping before the case is over. Now, here are the basic things you need to know about posting bail.
You may post your own bail, or have a proxy do it for you.
When you are arrested, you may be given a ticket and a court date with a document for you to sign, guaranteeing your appearance. But if not, you are then taken to jail. That’s when you need to post bail to get out of prison. However, you may have to wait a day or two before you find out the amount you need to pay. Public prosecutors and judges are responsible for specifying the bail amounts for all bailable crimes and offenses.
You may then post your own bail or find another person such as a family member or friend to pay for you. When you have posted bail, you will be issued a document or court order that shows that you may be released from lockup.
Know the different kinds of bail you can post.
There are three types of bail that may be set for you and will be accepted by the judge:
- money payment
- signature bond
- property bond
Money payment is usually a set dollar amount based on the severity of your crime. A signature bond is an alternative where you, the accused, signs a document that states that you will appear for any required court hearings and trial dates. Lastly, a property bond is when a deed to your own property is used to ensure your appearance in court.
Wait for the prosecutor’s office to set the amount of your bail.
How does a prosecutor or judge determine the figure that certifies your appearance at court? They usually examine the circumstances and nature of your charges, especially if you have been a danger to the public. The officials involved also examine the weight of the evidence, past criminal history, and whether you are a flight risk or not. You may then have to wait for them to finish reviewing everything, so they can set the amount of your bail.
You can contract a bail bondsman to post bail for you.
If you cannot afford to post your own bail, the services of a bail bondsman or commercial bail bond agent may be hired and utilized. These agents will usually charge you a nonrefundable fee, amounting to 10-20% of your total bail. The bondsman then pays the remaining amount of your bail if ever you fail to appear in court.
You may enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer.
You may hire a criminal defense lawyer so that they may explain to you the specific terms of your bail as well as help you avoid any additional penalties. They will keep you updated throughout the bail process and plead your case, so you may be able to get a reduced bail, if possible.
It is best to be informed of your rights as a citizen as well as the specific events of the bail process. Employing the services of a trustworthy and reliable lawyer may also help you better prepare your case during court proceedings.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.