When you’re charged with a crime, you want to do everything possible to avoid staying behind bars. Depending on the severity of the offense, you can post bail to get out of jail. Bail bonds can help you gain freedom, and here are some things you need to know about the process to get these surety bonds.
The Bail Bond Hearing
You’ve been arrested, and you’re panicked. If you spend time in jail, you might lose your job. You have a family at home who needs you, so what do you do? After you’ve been arrested, the court must give you a bail bond hearing. These hearings typically happen about 24-72 hours after your arrest.
During this hearing, the court will examine the charges and your previous criminal history and determine if bail is feasible in your case. The judge has jurisdiction here because they can release you on your recognizance, deny bail, or give you a dollar amount to grant your freedom.
Understanding Bail Schedules
The bail schedules are the amounts the court charges you for bail, which vary considerably. For instance, someone accused of murder might not be offered any bail due to the severity of their crime.
However, if you’ve been booked on credit card fraud, you might pay $20,000 to be released. A misdemeanor might have a bail of $5,000, and a felony can be $100,000. Many variables come into play, so having a skilled attorney who can help you navigate the courtroom side of things is essential.
The Roll of the Bail Bondsmen
If the court sets your bail at $10,000, what happens if you don’t have the money to pay this fee? The best thing to do is to call a bail bond agent to front the money on your behalf. This professional will use a surety bond that guarantees you will go to court. Once they pay the fee, you’re released.
These individuals know the rules and regulations and regularly work with the court system. The agents can help guide you through the process and get you out of jail.
The Cost of Using Bail Bonds
There’s a small fee for using bail bond services. In most instances, you’ll need a cosigner as an added layer of protection. Most states put a cap on the amount you can be charged. For example, the maximum fee is 10% when it comes to bail bonds in San Diego.
If your bail amount is $50,000, you will need to pay $5,000 to the bail bond agent to get their assistance. This fee is non-refundable, as it’s paying for their services. Sometimes bail bond companies take collateral like titles or other things to ensure they get paid. You can use credit cards, money orders, or other valuables. It depends on the company and its policies on what you can use for payment.
The Role of the Cosigner
The cosigner is another crucial player in getting you out of jail. This person signs documentation with the bail bond agents to ensure you go to court. The court calls this person the Indemnitor, as they’re the contact between you and the bail bond agents. The amount paid will allow you up to one year to stay out of jail if the hearing has yet to occur. Another fee must be paid if the hearing doesn’t happen within 12 months.
Repaying the Debt
You must show up on your court date, as the bail bond agents took a chance on you, and a cosigner may be on the line. They’ll send someone to look for you when you don’t show up to court or pay for their services.
They can collect the money, which is the full bail amount, or turn you in to satisfy the court. When there’s a cosigner, they’re also responsible for the bill should you skip town or not pay. So, it’s always best to have your day in court and avoid further legal drama.
Getting a bail bond is confusing if you’ve never been through the procedure. Thankfully, it’s a widely used process that can help you from spending sleepless nights behind bars. Since these agents are well-versed in the court system, they can help you navigate the process, and you can wait at home until your hearing.