If you are thinking about posting bail for a friend or family member who is behind bars or if you find yourself in a position where you are the one in jail, it is important to fully understand how bail bonds work before you use this method to get someone, including yourself, out of jail.
Bail Amounts Usually Don't Change
Your bail amount is set by the judge. The judge will consider factors such as the circumstances of the crime committed, the current conduct of the defendant, and the defendant's standing in the community. Many court systems use a list or system that assigns a certain value to certain crimes in a process that is referred to as a bond schedule.
Generally, the judge will use the bond schedule to set your bond amount and will also consider other factors to determine your bail amount. Once your bail amount is set, it will generally only change if other factors or crimes come to light before you post bail.
This is very rare, though. Generally, once the judge sets the bail, that is it.
There Are Three Ways to Get Out of Jail
Some people wonder if they have to pay bail to get out of jail. In general, there are only three ways you can get out of jail.
First, you can wait for your appearance before the judge and see if the judge will release you of your own recognizance. Second, you can pay the full bail amount set by the court. Or third, you can use a bond dealer and pay a percentage of the bail amount to get out of jail.
You Only Have to Pay a Percentage of the Bail as a Promise
When you work with a bondsman, you generally have to pay about 10% of the bail amount, although the exact percentage varies by state. You don't have to pay the full bond amount, as that percentage you put down is your way of promising that you will show up to court.
However, you will be required to put up collateral, which can be taken to pay your full bond amount if you don't show up to court. The threat of losing that collateral is supposed to be enough to get you to show up to court.
You Don't Get the Fee You Pay Back
Finally, when you work with a bail bondsman, generally, you pay a fee for their services. You are not going to get that fee that you pay them back, even if you show up for court. If you show up for court, though, you will not have to give up whatever money or items you offered as collateral to cover the full cost of the bond.
A bail bondsman will work to get you out of jail while you only pay a portion of your total bond amount. You will have to give up that small fee that you pay the bonds company, but as long as you show up for court, you will not have to give up the collateral you offered on the bond as well.
To learn more, contact a bail bonds agent.