It just takes one drink too many. You headed out on the town to celebrate your promotion with some friends, and you were having a blast! Until that last round of shots. Your buddy wanted to make sure this night would be memorable, and as he slid that Jager Bomb across the bar, it became a night you’d truly never forget.
And not for a good reason.
When that loud guy got a bit handsy with your girl, it was hard to control yourself. You meant to just use your words, but the situation escalated quickly, and within minutes, fists were flying and there was so much blood.
The cops were called and you found yourself sitting in a cell, sobering up from the alcohol and waking up to the fact that you are in big, big trouble. Now, you’re left wondering, how long am I going to be here… and what if I can’t make bail?
Will I Be Granted Bail?
There’s nothing worse than sitting on a cold, hard bench in a jail cell, lost in your own thoughts and replaying the events of the evening in your head, overcome with utter remorse. If only you hadn’t…
But reliving the past won’t help. The only thing that will is getting out of that jail cell, and back home to your life where you can figure out your next steps. And this won’t happen until you are brought before a judge for your arraignment hearing.
At this time, the court will:
- Advise of your Constitutional rights
- Tell you specific criminal charges that have been filed against you
- Give you the opportunity to enter a plea
- Set the conditions of your release (this includes bail)
How Is Bail Set?
During this hearing, the judge will make a judgment call as to how likely you will be to return to the court for your next hearing if you are released from jail. Whether or not you’ll be granted bail will depend on the following factors (among others):
- The severity of the crime you’ve been charged with
- Whether or not you have a past criminal record
- If you do have a record, did you attend all court dates?
- Do you have ties to the community?
- Do you have steady employment (and would it be in jeopardy if you were to stay in jail)
- Do you have family responsibilities?
- Are you likely to commit another crime?
Many jurisdictions now use a computer algorithm input with this data, to determine the likelihood that you will appear in court.
Bail is a financial commitment you make to return to court. If you show up when you’re supposed to, you get your money back. If you do not show up when you are required to, you will forfeit that money and a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.
What If I’m Not Granted Bail?
If the judge decides that you can not be released on bail or on your own recognizance (without bail), you will remain incarcerated until your court date. In America, we have a constitutional right to a speedy trial, and if you are not released from jail, the courts will attempt to schedule your trial as quickly as possible. Of course, with backlogs and jam-packed court dockets, this may be longer than you’d like. The one positive aspect in this situation, is that if you are sentenced to time in jail after your trial, the days or weeks you spend pre-trial, will count as time served.
How to Post Bail
Let’s assume (and hope), that bail has been granted. The judge is fairly confident that, with money on the line, you will return for your day in court rather than fleeing the state and going out on the lam. This is wonderful news! Freedom is within reach… or is it?
The factors we discussed earlier don’t just help the judge decide whether or not you will be granted bail. These questions also factor into how much your bail will cost. The less faith they have in you returning for court, the more your bail will be. And depending on your crime, that bail could be VERY high – to the tune of $1,000,000.
Who has that much money laying around?
What Are Bail Bonds?
There are very few people who could actually afford to post bail for themselves or for a friend or family member. Most people will have to rely on the assistance of a local bail bondsman. A bail bond agent will post bail on your behalf, allowing you to get back to your life, keep your job, and handle your charges in a calm environment surrounded by your support system.
Generally, you will pay 10% of the bail amount to secure this bail bond. If your bail is set at $50,000, you will pay $5,000 for your bail bond. Depending on the amount of the bail bond, you may be asked to provide collateral in the form of property to minimize the financial risk on the bail bondsman. If you return for your court date, the bail bondsman will get their $50,000 back (your $5,000 will NOT be refunded to you). If you do not return for your court date, and they lose their $50,000, the bail bond agent will have the right to sell your collateral to recoup their loss.
Are There any Bonding Companies Near Me?
If you are arrested, you may be wondering are there any bail bonds near me? In most areas of the country, you will have access to 24-hour bail bonds, so you can get out of jail quickly. In addition, you can find a mobile bail bonds agent who will come to you and save your family or friends the time and embarrassment of having to post your bail.
There’s no need to stay in jail even a moment more than necessary. If you have been arrested and bail has been granted, don’t let a lack of money keep you locked up. There are resources at your disposal. Call a local bail bondsman and get out of jail.