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Understanding bail bonds

Anyone arrested needs to quickly learn about what steps are necessary to get out and start building a defense. From stealing backpacks to driving while intoxicated, a single arrest can quickly turn a life upside down, so there is no time to waste. 

A way to get out of jail as you await trial is through a bail bond. It is essentially your way of promising the court you will attend all preliminary hearings and trial dates. It is different from having the charges dropped, as you still need to build a defense. It is possible you will go back to jail, but for the time being, you should familiarize yourself with how bail bonds operate

What types of bail bonds are there?

There are three kinds of bail bonds available. Each one is capable of getting you out of jail, but they differ in how you will pay them back. 

  • Surety Bond: A third party charges a non-refundable fee, which is usually 10% of the bond. The bondholder will be on the hook if you fail to make a court appearance.
  • Cash Bond: You may have the funds to make bail yourself. In this instance, you pay the bond, and once you appear for all your court dates, the court refunds the amount in full to you.
  • Personal Recognizance Bond: With this, the state releases you without you having to pay anything at first. The county you are in will instead charge a personal bond fee, which is $20 or 3% of the standard bond amount. This is typically only available to people arrested for low-level crimes who are not flight risks. 

How does the county determine your bail amount?

A judge should establish a bond amount within 48 hours of the arrest. According to U.S. law, bail amount should not be excessive, but it should be appropriate for the crime committed and whether the person has the means to leave the country before the court date. 

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