- 5 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Personal recognizance – The defendant pays no money and instead signs a contract agreeing to show up for all court hearings. The prosecutor may decide to include conditions that the defendant must follow – such as house arrest or staying away from the victim in the case.
Cash bond – This option is used most often for misdemeanors with bail amounts that aren’t too excessive. The defendant, or a co-signor, must post the entire amount of the bail. The money is returned, minus any court fees or charges, if the defendant shows for all court hearings. If the defendant misses a court hearing, the cash goes to the state.
Unsecured bond – This is similar to personal recognizance except that a bail amount is set. The defendant is not required to post that bond in order to be released from jail. However, if the defendant does not show up for all scheduled court hearings, the bail must be paid.
Surety bond – Since there are no private bail bond companies in the state, a surety bond is most often used for a higher bond amount. The defendant can post property, if the arrangement is approved by the judge. The property must be located in the state and the equity in the property must at least equal the amount of bail. A lien will be recorded in the Registry of Deeds.
Supervision Contract – This is fairly common in Maine and is used by judges to give defendants more incentive to show up in court. The supervision comes from Maine Pretrial Services, which requires defendants to check in on a regular basis and to perform community service or attend alcohol education if necessary. A common bail with a supervision contract might require the defendant to pay $500 in bail and to follow the stipulations of a supervision contract.
- How to Get Bail
In Maine, property is more commonly used to secure a defendant’s release, which involves quite a bit of paperwork and takes more time than simply posting a cash bond, for example. Defendants are allowed to make a call after being booked into jail and can request help with bail from a relative or friend.
- What Will Bail Cost
There is no premium to be paid to a bail bond agent since private bail is not allowed in Maine. There are some fees and court charges involved, including a $60 fee from the Bail Commission in every case. The only other cost occurs if a defendant violates bail conditions or does not show up for a scheduled hearing.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
Maine law says a defendant cannot be held more than 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, to have an initial hearing. That’s when bail is set by a Bail Commissioner, although for some more serious felonies, bail cannot only be set by a state judge. If the offense is a misdemeanor and the defendant can afford cash bail or the amount of cash in a supervision contract, the process of bonding out of jail often takes only a few hours. If the crime is more serious, it can take a day or two to have a hearing before a state judge.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
The court will keep any bail that was paid, whether for a cash bond or as part of a supervision contract. With an unsecured bond, the amount of bail set will immediately become due either from the defendant or a co-signor. Additionally, the court will issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant on the original charge and on the separate charge of failure to appear. If the original charge was a felony, the failure to appear charge is also a felony.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.