Most people like to enjoy a drink every now and then, but any good feelings can quickly dissipate when arrested for a DUI. Thousands of DUI arrests occur each day across the U.S., and many who are charged have no idea their blood alcohol content is over the legal limit of .08 percent. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to know what to expect and the process for posting DUI bail.
How Much is Bail for a DUI? – First Things First
Before answering the question of how much is bail for DUI arrests, you first need to understand the booking process.
After the arrest is made, DUI suspects are typically transported to the county jail and “processed” or “booked.” Before you can post DUI bail, a police officer will:
• Take your personal information
• Record information about the alleged DUI
• Perform a criminal background records search
• Confiscate your personal belongings
• Photograph you and take your fingerprints
• Place you in a “drunk tank” or general holding cell until your DUI bail hearing
The DUI Bail Process
How much is bail? Not so fast; you may be booked, but you still have to get through the bail hearing.
After being arrested for a DUI and going through the booking process, the court will often proceed with a DUI bail hearing, where you will find out how much is bail for a DUI and be able to pay the bail amount or secure a bond. After doing so, you can return home to be with your family while you wait for trial.
There are court processes in place to determine bail for DUI cases. According to the Constitution, bail should be set at a fair amount. Therefore, a judge is prohibited from placing bail too high and must set bail according to previous standards or a predetermined schedule.
However, if you’re wondering how much is bail for a DUI involving an accident, fatality, or serious bodily injury, you can expect your bail to be set at a higher monetary value. Bail is also set higher for defendants who are believed to be a flight risk.
Many times, judges will base DUI bail amounts on the following criteria:
• Criminal history – A first-time offender worried about how much is bail can expect to pay less than a frequent offender.
• The severity of the offense – If someone is severely injured as a result of your driving under the influence, you can expect to pay a higher bail amount.
• Status in the community – Family ties, employment, and your overall status in the community also play a role in determining how much is bail for a DUI in your specific case.
While it’s not necessary to have a lawyer present at your DUI bail hearing, an experienced DUI lawyer will understand the bail process and arrange for your family and friends to attend the hearing as well. That being said, having a lawyer is no guarantee your bail will be set lower. Since bail rates differ from state to state and case to case, there’s no way to put an exact dollar amount on how much is bail for a DUI.
If you’re looking for some figures, however, it may be helpful to know that a misdemeanor DUI bond can range from $500-$10,000, while felony DUI cases can have bail amounts of up to $50,000. With your money and your freedom on the line, it helps to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side.
Can’t Afford Your DUI Bail? – Bail Bond Agencies
After finding out how much is bail at your DUI bail hearing, your family and friends may pay the full bail amount determined by the court, or you can post a bond in lieu of the bail amount. Since bail amounts are returned after trial, a bond is simply a written guarantee of full bail payment if you fail to appear in court as promised.
Bonds are typically secured through bail bond agencies, which charge anywhere from 7 to 12 percent of the bail amount to post the bond. A bail bond agency may also require additional collateral prior to posting a bond because they are held liable for the full bail amount if a defendant fails to appear in court as promised.
Finding a Bail Bond Agent
If you undergo the bail hearing and can’t pay the full bail amount, you’ll need to obtain a bond. But how do you find a bond agent with no smartphone or Yellow Pages to turn to?
Nearly all jails have lists of bond agents for their jurisdiction. However, before you select a bondsman, bond agent, or surety from the list, you may want to have your family look into their reputations. While many bond agents strive to run a reputable business, some are less conscientious and attentive.
A bond agent should also be approved in your jurisdiction. If your bond agent isn’t accepted by the Sheriff, you will need to pay another bond agent to post a new bond.
If you secure an experienced DUI attorney prior to finding out how much is bail for your particular case, he or she will be able to refer you to excellent bondsmen in your jurisdiction. If you still don’t have a DUI lawyer, you should find one to represent you and your best interests as soon as possible.
DUI Bail Bond – Conditions of Release
Paying a bond agent is only the first expense when arrested, bonded, and released while you wait for trial for DUI. In many jurisdictions, special conditions are imposed, such as the installation of an ignition interlock device and alcohol and drug screenings or counseling. In addition to the shock of finding out how much is bail for a DUI, these special conditions can also be a significant expense.
Before posting a bond and making monthly payment commitments to a bondsman, make it a point to ask about any other DUI bond conditions typically imposed in your jurisdiction. It’s important to understand all of the conditions of your release prior to posting bond.
Own Recognizance Release
When someone is arrested for DUI, booked, and granted release on their “own recognizance,” no DUI bail needs to be paid and there is no need to post bond. If released on your own recognizance, you’re simply released after promising to appear in court for all of the following proceedings. Needless to say, if you’re worried about how much is bail or the expenses of the conditions above, being released on your own recognizance is an ideal option.
Similar to setting DUI bail, the judge will take your criminal history, the severity of the offense, and your community ties into consideration when deciding upon an “own recognizance” release. An experienced DUI lawyer will make an argument for this type of release at your bail hearing and boost your chances of skipping the expensive, stressful, and time-consuming bail process.
How Much is Bail for a DUI? – Don’t Worry, Get Free Legal Advice Today!
A bondsman or bond agent can help you understand how much is bail for DUI bonds and any conditions involved. However, it’s wise not to rely on a DUI bond agent.
Although they may be involved as part of the judicial system, they’ve not licensed DUI attorneys and can’t provide you with legal advice. Only a licensed attorney can provide you with legal assistance, defend you in court, and give you advice regarding the legal ramifications of your decision to go to trial or accept a plea.
If you’ve found yourself arrested for a DUI or DWI, you’ll have your work cut out for you when released on bail. The only way to ensure you have the best possible defense is to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer. Every day you wait is another day for the prosecution. Click here to receive free legal advice today!