After an arrest, most people have the opportunity to be released from jail while awaiting trial. To ensure that the accused actually shows up for all court appearances, the judge often requests some type of money or bail. The amount of bail set by the judge is directly related to the type of crime committed, the financial resources of the accused, the prior criminal record of the accused, and the likelihood of the accused to skip town. Explore the five different options for getting out of jail on bail to determine what is the most feasible for friends or family members in need.
1. Cash bail - Cash is a common form of bail. Once the required bail is paid by cash or check, the accused is released from of jail. A friend or family member will need to provide the full amount of bail in cash or check form to release the accused from jail. Depending on the crime, the amount of cash bail requested can be high.
2. Surety bond - Since the amount of cash bail is often more than people can get their hands on quickly, many people go to sites and use a surety bond or a bail bond. In a surety bond, a bail bondsman provides the funds needed to release the accused from jail. The bondsman usually charges a fee for services of 10 percent. The court will then pay the bondsman back when the accused makes his or her court appearances.
If the accused fails to show up for court, the bondsman will not be paid. In this case, the bondsman may hire a bounty hunter to find the accused and bring him or her back to the state. If the bounty hunter can find the accused and bring him or her back to court, the bondsman will then be paid.
3. Property bond - In a property bond, a piece of property is put up as collateral. The court then has the option to place a lien on the property if the accused fails to show up in court as promised. The lien prevents the property from being sold to another party until the debt is satisfied. The court can, if it wishes, legally mandate the home's foreclosure to satisfy the conditions of the property bond.
If the accused makes all court appearances as dictated by the court, the property bond is discharged. The court no longer has legal claim to the property.
4. Release via citation - In some cases, an accused can be released without even seeing the inside of a holding cell. When a police officer is really busy, he or she might issue a citation directing the accused to appear in court on a given date. No jail, no booking, and no bail. Release via citation is often used for minor crimes, such as shoplifting or vandalism.
5. Release on personal recognizance - If a judge deems the accused to be a low flight risk; he or she may be released under personal recognizance. A judge is more likely to grant this type of release to individuals with good community standing and with no criminal history. People with criminal records who have a good past history of making all court appearances may also receive this type of release. Release under personal recognizance is free, and usually requires that the accused sign a statement promising to appear in court.
Understanding different bail options is key in the event that you, your friend, or your relative is arrested. In stressful times, someone needs to keep a level head and know how to quickly release a loved one from jail.