How Bail Gets You Back Home Fast

Posting bail was established as a way for people to not have to stay in jail waiting for their trial. It lets you go home and gives the court some assurance that you'll show up for your hearing. If you don't have the cash to post bail, bail bonds services were established as guarantors of your bail. Here is how that whole process works for you.

It Starts When the Judge Sets Your Bail

The crime you're charged with is either bailable or non-bailable. Non-bailable crimes are those for which you'll have no choice but to stay in jail until your hearing. Manslaughter and murder are examples of non-bailable crimes.

Bailable crimes allow you to give the courts money to get out of jail and wait for your hearing. A judge refers to a set of guidelines as to how much your bail should be. Each crime is given a range of bail amounts. The judge will set the bail high or low, depending on how likely you are to show up for your hearing once you're out of jail.

This is a good time to be working with a criminal lawyer. They will petition the judge to set the lowest bail possible or waive bail entirely, based on your good character and if this is a first offense. If you have a good record with the court system, then you may get a minimum bail amount. If the judge believes that you are a high risk for not coming back for your hearing, they may set the bail at the maximum.

Bail is an Incentive

When you post bail, you're given a receipt and allowed to leave. When you come in for the hearing, you can show your receipt and get your bail money back. If you don't come in for the hearing, several things happen:

  • You lose your bail money.
  • The judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.
  • When you're picked up by law enforcement, you'll go to jail and you won't get a chance at bail again because you skipped out on the previous bail.

This is why bail may be set for thousands of dollars for someone who poses a risk of not coming in on their own. That money is forfeited if they don't show up for their hearing.

Bail Bond Services

If you're unable to post your bail due to lack of funds, a bail bond service will post the bail for you. You'll pay a fee to have the service post bail for you. When you show up for your hearing, the service gets the money back. If you don't show up, then things get real interesting:

  • The court issues a warrant for your arrest.
  • Local law enforcement will attempt to locate you and bring you in.
  • Representatives from the bail bond service will also be looking for you. By skipping out on the hearing, they lose the money they posted for you.
  • Should the bail bond service find you first, they can get their bail money back, minus a penalty.
  • If local law enforcement finds you first, the bail bond service loses it all.
  • This makes the bail bond service very motivated to find you first.

The bail process is a convenience for you so you don't have to wait for your hearing in jail. The bail bond service is there to help if you can't post bail. Understand the penalties of not going in for your hearing before you use a bail bond service.