When you have been arrested and booked into jail, you immediately begin to think of how you can get out and go home. You do not want to sit behind bars during the time that it takes for you to appear in court for your sentencing or trial. You want to go home to your family and get on with your life as quickly as possible.
The solution to your dilemma involves paying the required amount of cash first. You can prepare to pay this amount of money by learning what it is and in what forms that the court accepts it from defendants like you.
What is Bail?
A term that is used interchangeably with bond, this sum of money is ordered during a defendant’s arraignment hearing. It can be paid in one of several different ways. The most common formats for it include cash, bond or collateral.
It serves as a surety between the court and the defendant that he or she will show up to all of his or her future court proceedings. If the defendant does not appear in court, the court keeps the money and issues an arrest warrant for the person’s arrest.
An arrested individual must be arraigned within 72 business hours in most case. The judge will decide how much of a bond that the person must pay based on factors like:
- Prior criminal history
- The offense for which the person was arrested
- Flight risk
- Risk to the community
The judge also considers the defendant’s job stability and credit rating before deciding if the person can bond out of jail.
The required amount of money must be paid in full to the jail’s clerk before the defendant can be released to go home. If the person does not have the cash on hand or any property that is worth that value, he or she can arrange for a bondsman to pay the money for him or her. A bondsman typically can pay the money within a few hours after being contacted to secure the release of the arrested individual.
Most jurisdictions use a schedule to determine how much money that defendants must pay to get out of jail. The schedule is nearly universal for most courts in the U.S. However, the judge presiding over a case always has the discretion of ordering a different amount as long as the sum does not violate the terms of the Eighth Amendment.
People who are charged with murder are normally denied the chance to be released from jail before his or her next court date. However, the typical schedule for bailing out of jail for other offenses is:
- $25,000 for Class C and Level 5 domestic violence felonies
- $7500 for Class C and Level 5 felonies
- $20,000 for Class B and Level 3 and 4 felonies
- $50,000 for Class A and Level 1 and 2 felonies
A defendant’s bail can be doubled if he or she is not a resident of the county where the case is being prosecuted. It can also be doubled if the:
- Crime involved a deadly weapon or serious bodily harm
- Defendant has two or more alleged victims
- Defendant has two or more failures to appear
- Offender has 10 or more prior arrests
The judge can also increase the bail amount if the offender is arrested while he or she is on probation or parole or if he or she is apprehended after being released on his or her own recognizance.
Inability to Pay
If you cannot pay to get out of jail before your next court date, you wonder what will happen to you and for how long that you must remain incarcerated. It is true that if you cannot pay your bond that you must remain in custody. You cannot be released from jail unless the judge decides to release you on your own recognizance or on a signature bond.
The amount of time that you will spend behind bars awaiting your next day in court will largely depend on what kind of crime for which you have been arrested. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you likely will see a judge faster than if you were charged with a felony. An arrest for DUI or shoplifting typically will land you in court within a week after you are booked into jail and arraigned.
More serious offenses like rape and assault can take longer to prosecute. If you cannot bond yourself out of jail, you could sit in a cell for weeks while your lawyer and the prosecutor decide if you are eligible for a plea deal or what kind of evidence must be presented at trial. Their legal maneuvering can take a significant amount of time to finish, during you must remain in jail if you cannot pay your bond.
Using a Bonds Service
When you want to get out of jail as quickly as possible, you could decide to use the services of a professional bondsman. This arrangement can give you access to cash that you need to go home and await your court appearance with your family. A bondsman can offer you benefits that far outweigh having to sit in a jail cell until your next appearance.
To start, bondsmen are typically available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even if you are arrested during the middle of the night, you can call one of these services to arrange for a bond.
Bondsmen also work closely with law enforcement and have a good relationship with the court officials overseeing your case. They can typically get you out of jail with relative ease and faster than you could if you were to pay cash out of your own bank account.
Finally, using a bondsman can give you better access to a court-appointed lawyer. If you pay cash to bond yourself out of jail, you demonstrate that you have the monetary reserves to hire your own attorney. If you need someone to post your bond for you, you show the court that you lack the money to retain your own counsel.
It is possible to get out of jail before you are tried or sentenced for a crime. You need to pay the required amount of money to secure your release, however. If you lack the money or assets, you can hire a bondsman to pay this amount and get you out of police custody.