In most cases, the court will make a bail decision immediately after your arraignment. The purpose of bail is to ensure that you will show up for all future court appearances. Bail makes it possible for you to get on with your life by continuing your employment or educational obligations. However, bail often isn't as simple as paying a fee and going on your way until your next court appearance. The following are five things that you need to know about bail.
The Court May Impose Restrictions
The court may decide to impose certain restrictions as a condition of letting you go pending trial after meeting bail requirements. Conditions commonly included by the courts are a requirement to maintain employment or to look for a job if you are unemployed at the time, avoid any and all contact with any victims of the alleged crime as well as witnesses, remain within a specified geographical area, refrain from owning a gun or other weapon, and avoid using nonprescription drugs and drinking alcohol. The may also ask that you undergo regular drug and alcohol testing if this was believed to have been a contributory factor in your alleged crime. You may also have to arrange for the payment of a bail bond.
There Are Two Types of Bail Bonds
Unless the court determines that you pose a serious flighk risk or are a significant threat to the community, you'll probably be presented with the opportunity to post bail. Two types of bonds exist—secured bonds and unsecured bonds. Here's the difference:
An unsecured bond is called a surety bond. This type of bond does not require any type of collateral, but you will be held legally liable for the cost of the entire bond if you should fail to show up for court appearances. A warrant will also be issued for your arrest if you don't make it to your scheduled court appearances. Unsecured bonds are more likely to be offered to those with limited or no criminal pasts and whose alleged crimes do not involve violence or drugs.
A secured bond is when you put up collateral to satisfy the bond requirements set by the court. Collateral usually consists of real estate, vehicles, or other items of value and will be forfeited if you don't make your scheduled court appearance. Judges may ask for secured bonds if there is reason to expect that you may be a flight risk or if the nature of your alleged crime is severe. If you have put up property or cash as collateral in order to make bail, it will be refunded to you upon successful completion of all conditions imposed by the court.
In rare cases, the judge may opt to release you on your own recognizance. This is usually reserved for petty, nonviolent crimes allegedly committed by those with no history of criminal behavior. Conversely, the judge may refuse to set bail at all if for those posing serious flight risks or who have committed violent felonies or who have been accused of major drug trafficking or, in some cases, they may set bail extremely high.
How a Bail Bondsman Can Help
Not everyone has the means to make bail, and sitting in jail until your trial may cost you your job, which in turn can have dire consequences on your life—without an income, you risk losing your place to live. A bail bondsman may be able to pay your bail in return for a service fee that is typically around 10 percent of the cost of the bail. Please feel free to reach out to your local bail bond posting service, or check out websites like http://absolutebailbond.com/ for more information.