When you have been arrested for and charged with a crime, your primary concern revolves around getting out of jail as quickly as possible. After you have been arraigned, you wonder how you can post your own bail and return to your home and family.
In fact, the question of can you post your own bail depends on a variety of factors. You can solve the dilemma of can you bail yourself out of jail by learning what these factors are and how you can use them to your advantage to secure your release from police custody.
Can You Pay Your Own Bail?
The answer to can you pay your own bail is a resounding yes as long as you have the financial means to do so. In fact, if you were to ask the court clerk or law enforcement can you post your own bail, you would be told that you can write a check or pay with cash right after your arraignment hearing.
However, if you wonder when can you bail yourself out of jail, you need to realize that you need access to the full bail amount right away. You cannot be released from police custody and promise to pay the full bail amount later. The court needs you to post bail before you can go home to await your next court date.
Most people do not have access to the full amount of money needed to bail themselves out of jail. Instead, they have to post a bail bond that acts as a surety between them and the court. A bail bond is typically 10 percent of whatever a defendant’s bail amount is set during the arraignment hearing.
Because bail is often set at hundreds or thousands of dollars, most people do not even have the bail bond amount at their disposal. They need to call a bail bondsman to come post the money for them.
A bail bondsman is an agent who can pay the bond amount needed to secure a defendant’s release from jail. The agent secures the bond as well as the rest of the bail amount with some sort of collateral that the defendant owns. This collateral can include wages, a car, or another liquid asset.
Paying Your Own Bail
If you have the financial means available to you, you can post your own bail by using one of the options that most courts allow. The primary way to bail yourself out of jail involves simply writing a check or handing over the cash for your bail. The money serves as a guarantee that you will show up to your court date and follow through with all of the requirements of your sentencing.
Your next option would be to sign over ownership of some sort of liquid asset that can be sold to satisfy the terms of your bail if you do not show up to court. Some of the more common assets that a court can accept deeds for include:
- Recreational vehicles like motorcycles or boats
- Stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
You can sign over ownership of an asset or assets that equal the same amount as your bail. If you show up to court and satisfy the terms of your case, the collateral will be returned to you. If you fail to appear in court, however, the asset will be sold to pay back the court the full amount of your bail.
Your other option involves hiring a bail bonds agent to come and post your bond for you. The bond is around 10 percent of your required bail amount.
The bail bondsman will pay the bond directly to the court on your behalf. You then will be released from jail with the understanding that you will appear in court for you all of your upcoming court dates.
If you fail to show up in court, the bail bondsman can ask the judge to issue a warrant for your arrest. You also forfeit any collateral that you used to secure your bond.
Requirements for Paying Your Own Bail
Judges do not give everyone the same opportunity to post their own bail. A defendant’s case must meet certain criteria before he or she will be permitted to bail himself or herself out of jail.
One of the first criteria typically involves the crime being the first that the defendant committed. If the person has no prior arrest record, he or she could be allowed the chance to bail himself or herself out of jail.
Other criteria for bailing oneself out of jail include:
- Posing no danger to the community
- Not being a flight risk
- Having a good credit score
- Owning a home titled in the defendant’s name
- Having a stable job
- Having ties to the community
Someone who does not meet these standards could be denied the opportunity to bail himself or herself out of jail. At the very least, the person could require a cosigner on his or her bond in order to be released from custody and allowed to go home.
Reasons to Pay Your Own Bail
The most obvious advantage that comes with paying your own bail involves being able to go home to your family to await your next court date. After all, who wants to wait in jail for weeks or months before you finally have your case heard?
However, there are other advantages to paying your own bail if you are allowed. For example, it is easier to meet with your lawyer and play a role in your own defense when you are not sitting in a jail cell. You avoid the time restrictions that come with visiting hours at the jail as well as the lack of privacy in discussing your case in front of guards and other inmates.
You also can physically look better at your next court date if you pay your own bail. You are only allowed a limited amount of personal hygiene products in jail.
You also may not have access to clean or new clothing to wear to court. Going home lets you take care of your appearance and wear suitable clothing to your next court date.
Finally, if you pay your bail and get released from jail, you can pay restitution and make amends to the community. You could undergo therapy, for example, or perform community service. You cannot make restitution when you are behind bars awaiting your next court date.
While paying your own bail can present a financial challenge, it can serve you better than biding your time in jail. The benefits of doing so can work in your favor when you are scheduled to appear next before the judge or jury.
Judges routinely give select defendants the opportunity to bail themselves out of jail. This move can work to your advantage for a number of reasons. You can pay the cash or sign over an asset to pay your bail to the court. You can also use the services of a professional bail bondsman to post your bail bond.