If you're arrested for an offense, you could spend days in custody while waiting for a hearing with a judge. This can keep you away from your job and affect your income. Bail was developed to allow people to go home and wait for a hearing date. This gets you back home and to your job. Here is how bail works for you and the options you have if producing the bail creates a financial hardship.
Bail Depends on the Level of the Offense
Bail allows you to pay a fee to the court so you can get out of custody and wait for your hearing date at home. You can get back to your familiar routine and job. When your hearing date arrives, you'll get your bail money back from the court.
A judge determines the amount of bail that you'll need to pay. This is referred to as setting bail. The judge has guidelines as to what offenses are eligible for bail and what an appropriate range is for each offense. Your character and any precious history you've had with the court system are also taken into consideration.
If this is your first offense and the judge decides that you will return for your hearing, they can limit or waive the bail completely. However, if you've had a rocky history with the court system, or the offense is serious, the judge can set the bail high. If you don't have the finances to post a high bail, then you're stuck in custody until the hearing. Or you can use a bail bond servicing company and get out of custody for less money.
Getting Help For a High Bail Amount
Bail bond services were established to help people post bail that is set higher than what they can afford. The process works similar to taking out an unsecured loan:
- You pay a free to the bail bond company.
- The company posts your bail amount for you.
- When you return for your hearing, the bail company gets their money back from the court.
The process works smoothly as long as you show up for your hearing.
If you fail to show up for your court hearing, this is called jumping or skipping bail, and several steps are put into the motion.
- A judge creates a bench warrant which authorizes your arrest.
- The local sheriff's department sends a deputy out to locate you.
- If they find and arrest you, you'll be held in custody without the option for bail.
- You'll also lose any bail money that you previously posted.
- If you used a bail bond service, they lose the money they gave to the court for you.
To protect their own investments, bail bond companies employ individuals whose specialty is tracking down bail jumpers. If the bail company locates you and brings you before the court before the sheriff's department, the company will get their bail money back, minus a fee to the court. This makes bail bond companies highly motivated to find and return you to the court first.
Posting bail with a bail bond service, like Betty Bail Bonds, can get you out of custody and back home quickly. Make sure that you understand your obligations before using such a service.