Getting arrested is one of the last things anyone wants to deal with, but when it happens to you or someone you know, you must be aware of your options. As long as the crime isn’t too serious, most people will have the opportunity to post bail. Here are some of the most important things to remember when posting a bail.
How Bail Works
Bail is set by a judge based on several factors, particularly the seriousness of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record. A judge may deny bail if he or she believes the defendant may avoid appearing at a trial. The financial resources of the accused may also influence the judge’s decision. The judge may set a high bail or allow someone to be released on their own recognizance, based on the defendant’s reputation.
Bail Bond Companies
A bail bond company issues a contract between themselves as a “surety” broker, the court and the accused, known as the principal. A bail bond is a promise by the bondsman to pay the full bail to the court if the defendant fails to appear for the court date. For less serious crimes, a law enforcement officer may issue a citation with a court date instead.
Understanding Bail Options
There are various alternatives to paying the full bail amount in cash to the court. A Surety Bond is an agreement that a bail bond company will be responsible for the debt to the court, which involves a non-refundable ten percent charge to the friend or family member who is helping pay for bail. Sometimes property worth up to 200 percent of the bail amount can be used as a guarantee the defendant will appear in court.