Bail amount is determined by a judge, usually at a bail hearing or an arraignment following an arrest. Most judges follow a standard protocol when setting the amount, such as $500 for nonviolent misdemeanors. But the amount is also up to the judge’s discretion based on the case, so it’s possible for the judge to lower, raise or waive bail. Here are details on how bail bond services can help if you are ever arrested.
Making Bail Arrangements
It’s actually not necessary for a defendant to be represented by an attorney when arranging to pay bail. You or someone you know such as a family member can post cash bail or you can call a bail bond seller to set up a bond. A bondsman can help you get released from jail by issuing a bond to the court for a non-refundable fee to the individual filing for the bond.
In return, you agree to appear in court at a scheduled date, otherwise the bond will be forfeited and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Fees include state and federal charges. In many cases, courts accept 10 percent of the bond in cash. Keep in mind that laws governing bail bonds vary throughout the United States. In some states bail can be posted before the first court appearance either by the defendant, friends or bail bond services.
Bail Cost Factors
While petty crimes tend to correspond with low bail amounts, charges for serious crimes can lead to bail set for thousands of dollars. Other factors include the suspect’s criminal record, employment status and family connections within the community. Keep in mind that courts have developed long term relationships with bail bond services.
In some cases bail may be completely denied, such as when an individual has a warrant for his or her arrest in a different jurisdiction from the one in which they face charges. A judge will likely keep such a defendant in custody until the other jurisdiction decides what action to take. Another example of how a judge may deny bail is when he or she has reason to believe that the defendant will escape the jurisdiction that is pressing charges.
Common Crimes vs. Felonies
Schedules of bail amounts for common crimes are often posted by jails throughout the country. In those cases, someone who is arrested can post bail immediately after being booked. Bail amounts vary based on location, severity of the crime and the suspect’s residency. Usually bail amounts at jailhouses for felonies are up to ten times more than for misdemeanors and are not flexible.
How Police Affect Bail
Police only accept bail set by the rigid jailhouse schedule. You can request a lower amount, but it must be approved by a judge. Some jurisdictions employ duty judges, who can adjust a bail amount over the phone without a hearing.
Many times police will arrest suspects based on a combination of felony and misdemeanor charges. An example might be someone getting arrested for possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, as well as intent to sell it, a felony. Even though the felony charge might eventually get dropped, bail will be set according to the felony charge. Since felony charges require high bail amounts, it could delay the suspect’s release from jail.
When Bail Is Unaffordable or Denied
If a judge sets a bail amount so high that the defendant has no way of paying it, there’s still a possibility for the defendant to appeal or petition the decision in writing, depending on the state. There are other ways you can be released from jail, such as being released on your own recognizance, which is a recognition by an individual that they owe debt to the court. Filing through bail bond services is a form of recognizance, as it is based on an agreement to appear in court on a certain date.
Usually a judge reserves denying bail for suspects of serious crimes as a matter of protecting the community from potential danger. Charges such as murder or escape from prison tend to carry automatic bail denial, except for special circumstances. Even so, bail for serious crimes will likely be set at a million dollars or more.
Another example of when a judge may deny bail is if you told the arresting law enforcement officer that you do not intend to appear in court. If a judge ultimately denies bail then the defendant must remain in jail through a trial and hope to be acquitted.
The bail bonds business is not a new one and if you’re involved in it, chances are you think you know everything there is to know about the business. While the idea of bail bonds certainly isn’t new, you’re going to run into new competitors practically every day. There’s just no shortage of bail bonds available to Orange County residents, and that means they don’t always have to get them through you.
When competition grows, it doesn’t mean you need to find a new industry. What it does mean is that you need to find new ways to step up your game and get the customers required to keep your business thriving and growing. For most businesses that offer bail bonds in Orange County, that means using the internet better than their rivals.
The internet is a huge resource and one that almost every relative of a person in jail is going to turn to when they need bail bonds in Orange County. Use this guide to help you learn how you can boost your online presence and bring more people through your front door.
Not utilizing the internet means losing potential clients to another Orange County bail bond business with a strong online presence.
Improve your website. A website that isn’t pleasant to look at and doesn’t clearly offer information isn’t going to get you any business, at least not as much as it could. Hire professionals to revamp your website with clarity as the number one goal.
Use local SEO to help you get the interest of people looking for bail bonds in Orange County. While you may not be familiar with SEO right now, it’s something you can pay somebody to do for you. You’ll get a lot out of it, just make sure you focus on local, not national SEO.
Start a blog. It might not seem beneficial for an Orange County based bail bonds company, but a blog with general information about bail bonds and what to do if you or a family member is arrested can generate more traffic to your site. More traffic equals more people buying bonds from you instead of your competitors.
Make sure you appear on multiple directory listings. This is something you can pay a web company to help you with, but it’s something you need to do. Appearing on more directories will mean more people visiting your website each month.
Use social media in a positive way. An unmanned Facebook page doesn’t do much good, but getting involved with your community can really help you bring in customers. People that need bail bonds are on Facebook and other social media platforms like Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Always respond to customer emails and make sure you check your email each day. More and more people are going to get into contact with you through email these days, so make sure you stay on top of your inbox. Forward emails to your phone if you respond to them personally.
Use email marketing as part of your promotional package. You don’t want to send people emails every day because they aren’t going to need a bail bond that often. If you send too many, they might start to think you’re annoying and likely block you. However, sending one a month or every few weeks, especially if you offer content on your blog, can be very helpful. You don’t want your customers to forget about you or think of someone else when they need a bail bond.
Don’t forget about paid online advertisements. With so much focus on social media and other free tools, it can be hard to remember that paid advertisements can still be beneficial in attracting Orange County residents. Just make sure you choose your ad areas and sites wisely.
Focus on fugitive recovery as a specialty. If your company has been good at this in the past, specializing can help you keep your market share in a growing area. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is to try to do everything.
Consider using technology to your benefit if you’ve got a tech-savvy team. Offering advanced skip tracing services is something that not every bail bonds company can do. If your team is good at it, you might want to market those services more heavily.
The bail bonds system was first developed in 13th century England. The practice of exchanging money or property for release from custody was started to generate a better balance among the rich and the poor when people were accused of committing a crime.
How the System Works
Bondsmen will provide the money for someone who is awaiting trial in exchange for a percentage of the bail amount. When the system was first developed people who had money and properties were lucky enough to be able to post bail themselves; however, poorer people had to remain in custody. Entrepreneurs realized that they would be able to take advantage of this issue by providing the money and taking a percentage.
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Bondsmen have been around in the United States ever since the country was founded; however, the laws surrounding the procedures have changed, such as setting different bail bond amounts according to the individual’s circumstances. Although some aspects of the business vary from state to state, the main principles remain the same.
The business itself provides a much needed service to people who are subject to criminal charges and unable to finance the entire bail amount.
Finding a Trustworthy Bondsmen
If you ever find yourself requiring a bondsman, it’s important that you use a service that has the necessary experience and licenses to conduct business. This could speed up the process and limit your risk of running into problems.