Anyone who has recently found themselves in jail tends to wonder just how long it will be before they can leave. The fastest way to do this is by posting bail. Bail is the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial. Typically, things like property, a bond, or cash can be used as collateral in order to give the defendant an opportunity to get out of jail until it is time to return for their criminal trial.
After a defendant’s first appearance in court their bail can be modified during a bail hearing. This judicial proceeding is used by the court in order to determine whether or not the defendant can be trusted to make all required court appearances. If bail is granted, then the judge will typically rely on standard bail schedules for common crimes and the arrested person may be able to pay the full amount directly based on the station house bail schedule.
However, if the defendant wants to post bail but cannot afford it, they may either use a criminal defense attorney to request that the bail be lowered, or they may talk to a bail bondsman about covering their bail. A bail bondsman is a person who charges a fee in exchange for the guarantee that they will pay the court the full amount for bail if the defendant fails to appear. In order to secure a bail bondsman defendants often require a family member or friend to co-sign. In the event that the defendant decides to skip bail, the co-signer would then be responsible to reimburse the bail bondsman for the full amount of bail.
Bailed out suspects have to comply with a number of release conditions. If any of these conditions are violated, a judge could revoke bail and order that the suspect be arrested and brought directly back to jail. One of the most common bail conditions is that the defendant is required to obey all laws and must not commit another crime.
Bail can take many different forms but it may not always be available. Some defendants could be released on their own recognizance, also referred to as OR. A defendant that is released on their own recognizance is required to sign a promise to show up in court, but they are not required to post bail. A defendant will usually request to be released on OR at the first court appearance. If that request is denied, then the defendant will request a low bail amount. If you have questions about your criminal defense, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.