Five Things You Should Know About Bail When You Are Arrested

Posted on: 10 January 2019

When you are placed under arrest, you will be taken to the local police station and booked. This process will include documenting who you are, where you live, taking your photo and fingerprints. At this point, you will either be able to post bail or wait to see a judge who will determine your bail amount. The amount of money that is set for your bail is the court's way of making sure you show up for your court hearing. With this in mind, the following are a few things you should know.

You may not have to post bail

For some misdemeanors, you may simply be issued a citation. This is your promise to show up in court on the date of your hearing. This citation is not an admission of guilt, but by signing it, you are required to go to court, or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

It may be a cash bond you can post yourself

For many misdemeanors, you may be able to post a cash bond. Many jurisdictions will have a schedule of bonds, so depending upon the charge, the bail is automatically set. And when the amount is low enough, they may accept cash, check or even a credit card. You may not have a means to pay a cash bond, but you can call a friend or relative to bring the money. You will get this money back after you appear in court.

Large bail amounts may require a bondsman

Once the bond is determined, you will need to post bail for this amount or in most cases use a bail bond company. Because bail can be too high for many people, you only pay 10 percent and the bonding company will take care of the balance.

You will need to have someone post bail for you

A bondsman will want someone other than you to offer up collateral for the bond. If you don't show up for court, the person signing for the bond will forfeit their collateral. The courts see this as a strong motive for someone showing up for court. You don't want your friend or loved one to lose their asset.

The ten percent paid for the bond will not be refunded

The bail bond company will be refunded the bond money after you show up for court, but the 10 percent that you pay is a fee that is not refunded. That is the main source of income for a bail bondsman.

If the amount of bail is too much to post, a bail bonds company is there to help. The 10 percent fee is a rule of thumb, but there may be other fees. Make sure you understand how much you will be charged for posting bail before you decide on a bonding company to use.


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