What is Bail?
Bail is an sum of money (or property) the court requires to let someone out of jail. Bail can take the form of cash, bond, or property given to the court. It’s purpose is to ensure you appear for pre-trial hearings and trial. In fact, if you do not appear for trial, the court will forfeit your bail (i.e., they keep the money or property) and issue a warrant for your arrest.
How Is Bail Determined?
Ultimately, a judge determines bail amounts depending on the charges and facts of the case. The worse the charge, and the worse the facts, the higher the bail, usually. This noted, there are standardized bail schedules for common crimes, and many times you will be able to pay the standard schedule amount and be released from jail before going before a judge.
Note: For some very serious crimes and situations in which there is a very real possibility of flight from the state or country, bail will not be granted. On the other hand, for many non-serious crimes, the court may release you on your own recognizance, i.e., without bail.
What if I Cannot Afford the Bail Amount?
If you cannot afford the bail amount, you have a some options. The first is have your attorney challenge the bail amount by motioning the court. Second, you can approach a bail bond company. For a fee, usually 10% of the total bail amount, the company will pay 100% of the bail amount so you can get out of jail. If you use a bail bond company, you will give them authority to compel your presence at trial. The third option is to stay in jail until trial. (FYI: this isn’t terribly good option.)
Are There Conditions to Bail?
Yes, many times judges will impose conditions for those being released on bail. For example, a judge may tell you you must follow all laws while on bail. Another common condition is that you do not contact someone while out on bail (this happens often in domestic violence or child abuse cases). If you do not meet these conditions, you could be returned to jail.
Are You Experiencing Bail Issues? Contact Brown Law.
If you or a loved one is experiencing bail issues (bail is too high, has been denied, etc.), Brown Law’s experience and professionalism can help. Call us today. 801.685.9999 or 800.299.1016.