Did you know that, In 2017, law enforcement made over 10 million arrests?
There’s no way around it: getting arrested is always stressful. If it’s you or a loved one’s first time going through this, you’re probably confused, scared, and overwhelmed.
How does bail work exactly? What’s a bond and how can it help you? Let’s sort out these questions to get you the answers that you need.
Understanding Bails and Bonds
Once someone is in police custody after being charged with an offense, he or she may be able to be released by obtaining a bond or posting bail.
The judge weighs out these factors. The judge determines the amount of bail based on the severity of the offense. The judge will also consider past criminal history- and the potential likelihood of the defendant committing crimes later in the future.
Judges can legally set the bail at an amount that is not “objectively unreasonable.” On the same token, they can deny bail altogether.
How Does Bail Work?
Bail refers to the money a defendant must pay to be released from jail. Bail is not intended to be a ‘punishment.’ Rather, it’s essentially a mode of collateral.
It secures that the defendant agrees to prearranged conditions and will return to court when needed.
If the dependent does not show up for his court dates, he or she can forfeit the amount paid.
Understanding A Bail Hearing
Upon being arrested, the judge sets the bail amount. He will also review any additional conditions regarding the release. The possible bail outcomes typically include:
Release on Own Recognizance
This condition happens when the judge agrees to release the defendant after promising to return to court and maintain other conditions. This is the preferable option for defendants.
With a personal bond, the defendant is released after signing a bond. This bond indicates that he or she will be held liable for penalties upon failure to appear in court.
Bail Set With Terms of Release
In this case, the defendant may be released by posting bail in the designated amount. He or she can do this via direct payment or by obtaining a bond through a bail bond company.
Denial of Bail
As mentioned, judges can deny bail. This happens if the judge suspects that the defendant is a flight risk. It also happens in evaluating the severity of the crime.
Judges may also deny bail for:
- defendants having poor attitudes in the court
- prior history of missing court dates
- lack of U.S citizenship
- presence of mental impairments
That said, if bail is possible, it is always more likely to obtain it if the defendant has an attorney present.
How Do Bail Bond Companies Work?
Bail rates can range drastically depending on the defendant, crime, geographical location, and individual judge. That said, the rates can vary anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $100 million!
Bail bond companies help individuals who need financial support in posting bail. After all, most people and their families don’t just have thousands of dollars around to pay for getting out of jail!
Bail bond companies sell surety bonds (check out this website for more). These bonds essentially act as insurance guaranteeing that the defendant appears in court when instructed.
Bail bond companies provide a fraction of the bail (it’s usually around 10%). Some companies offer payment plans for people who cannot afford the total fee upfront.
The company may mandate that the defendant secures the bond with collateral. This may include a house or car deed or other valuables. If the individual cannot put up collateral, friends or family may do so.
Bail bond companies make money from the cost of the bond. Companies do not return the money the client paid. Instead, it is collected as a fee for obtaining the bond.
What If The Dependent Doesn’t Go To Court?
Typically, most defendants comply with court requirements. This is especially true if it’s the first defense.
However, some clients will still refuse to show up. In this case, the bail bond company must apprehend their clients and bring them to court.
Professional bail enforcement agents (often known as bounty hunters) can legally track down the defendant. However, if they cannot be tracked, the bail bond company is responsible for footing the bill.
At this point, the company has the right to seize any collateral assets used for the bond. This refers to the assets provided by the individual- and by friends and family if applicable.
What About Your Finances?
Bail bonds are treated like credit card cash advances. That means you pay a fee and interest- which begins accruing immediately.
Furthermore, your credit score can be impacted if you paid the bill with your credit card. This can raise your utilization review, which can impact your score.
Some families take out personal installment loans to pay the bill. However, this can impact your finances. Loans accrue interest, and if you aren’t able to make your payments, this can slash your credit score.
While it’s impossible to imagine every future scenario, planning ahead can help you make the best decision if an arrest happens.
Final Thoughts On How Does Bail Work?
Even though you may have no intentions of getting arrested, it’s still important to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
Now you don’t have to ask yourself, how does bail work? You’ll know what to do if you disaster strikes!
Are you interested in learning more about preparing yourself for the future financially? The right planning can make a massive difference in giving you valuable peace of mind. Check out this useful guide today!