When you are arrest in the United States, you probably think of only one thing: how to get out of jail as soon as possible. Generally, release from prison is accomplish by paying a set amount of money as a “bond” or by serving the set time of the sentence.
Bail is usually cash or property of pecuniary value that you give to the court in exchange for your promise to appear when ordered.
Generally, if you appear in court when you are due after you are released from prison, the court will return your bail money. However, if you do not appear, the court will keep your bond and will likely issue a warrant for your arrest, which means you will go back to prison.
The Bail Determination Process
If you have been arrested in the US, you probably want to know what your bail is as soon as possible.
If you must see a judge at a bond hearing, you will probably spend some time in jail. However, if you were arrest for a type of common crime, detention centers often have a table that can be use to determine your total bail amount, and to get out you only have to pay the amount of money you need.
The eighth amendment of the Constitution of the United States determines that it is prohibit to set an excessive amount of bail against detainees, it is intend to guarantee that the bail is not use for a purpose other than that of guaranteeing that a person accuse of a crime appear in court at the appointed time.
The bond may not exceed a reasonable amount to accomplish that end.
Despite the theory behind the Eighth Amendment, judges often set high bail amounts in criminal proceedings to prohibit a detainee from leaving prison.
This type of excessive bail is generally use for people who have been arrest on suspicion of drug trafficking, homicide, or other serious crimes for which they are likely to get away.
Many people have argue that this type of high fine violates the eighth amendment, but almost none have been successful.
There are also cases where bail is set at a reasonable amount, but the detainee is still unable to afford it. When this happens, the detainee must wait to ask the judge to lower the bail amount at a special hearing on or during the defendant’s first court appearance.
Depending on your special situation, the judge may choose to lower your bail amount, which may make it easier for you to get out of prison.
When you “post bail,” you are paying the amount that was determine for your bond.
Typically this can be do in a few days, including:
- Payment in cash or check for the amount of the deposit.
- The transfer of ownership rights of an asset that has a pecuniary value equal to or greater than the amount of your bond.
- The posting of a guarantee (a promise to pay if you do not appear) for the full amount of your bond.
- Signing a statement that you will appear in court at the proper time, often called “parole.”
Generally, if you can be release on parole, you should try to take advantage of that option. However, many people are force to purchase a bail bond in order to get out of prison.
A guarantee is much like a check that you give to a friend and ask him not to deposit it until you tell him he can.
Generally, the purchase price of the guarantee is around 10% of the value. Therefore, if your bail is set at $5,000, you may have to pay close to $500 to purchase a bail bond.
If you have the possibility, it is best to avoid acquiring a bail guarantee to get out of prison and choose another alternative.
If you appear in court and meet all of its requirements, the full amount of the bond will usually be return to you (minus some minor administrative fees from the court).
However, if you purchase a bail bond, 10% of your bail amount is already deduct (which is typically not refund) and you may also need to provide the bail bondsman with some secondary collateral in order to obtain your collateral (such as such as a property interest in your car or home). If you don’t appear in court when you should, the guarantor can collect the collateral you gave him, which means he can sell your property and keep the money from the sale.
As mentioned above, if you have the option of parole, you should take advantage of this opportunity. In general, to get parole, you simply sign a document agreeing to appear in court when ordered.
To be release on recognizance, you will probably have to apply for it at your first bail hearing in front of a judge. If this request is deny, you can always request a lower bail amount.
Certain factors can lead a judge to release you on parole, and many of them have to do with your ties to the place where you were arrest.
Factors that may justify your request for parole include:
- Have close family members who reside near where you were arrest.
- Have been raise or live in the place of your arrest for a number of years.
- Have a job near the place where you were arrest.
- Have no criminal record, not even minor crimes.
- Have a good record of appearing in court when you should have previously.