After an arrest, you may not care how you get out of jail, but it pays to understand how the various methods work. Unless you are denied bail or you are released on your own recognizance, you have to be bailed out to get out of jail. Bail comes in two different flavors, so read on to find out which one is best for your situation.
What Is Bail?
Bail is almost always thought about in terms of money, but there is far more to bail than that. You do have to pay a sum of money for your bail, but defendants must also obey any number of conditions of bail to avoid being arrested and charged with more crimes. Those conditions vary according to the crime, the criminal record of the defendant, and the reputation of the accused. Some common conditions include:
- Appearing for all court dates in the future. It's the violation of this one that will have you arrested and jailed for failure to appear.
- Not being arrested again for any reason.
- Not carrying weapons.
- Not associating with alleged victims or other known criminals.
Unique Features of Bail
Between bail and bail bonds, bail is the most expensive option of the two. Bail is set based on several factors, but the amount needed is often extremely high and not affordable for most. What sets bail apart, other than the cost, is that you can get your bail money back if you comply with all conditions after your court case is over.
Unique Features of Bail Bonds
While a bail bond is not refundable, it does have its merits. Bail bonds allow those charged with crimes to be released from jail at a percentage of the full bail. For example, if the full bail charged by the court is $25,000, freedom can be had for just $2,500 if the bail agency charges a 10% premium. Bail bonding agents work with the court system and agree to guarantee the return of the defendant for future court dates. In addition, there's usually no need for a loved one to go to the jail and deal with the bail themselves – bonding agents will take care of that task for them.
Bail bonding agencies are not directly affiliated with the courts or the jails but are third-party businesses that have offices located conveniently near jail facilities. A quick phone call to a friendly bail bonding agent can provide you with information about the cost of the bail bond and what steps to take next.