- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Personal Recognizance – A PR release is the best possible outcome for a defendant because no bail is set and no money has to be paid. Commissioners will choose this option for defendants who have not committed a violent crime and have little or no criminal history. The defendant must also have a connection to the community.
Cash bond – Cash bonds are used when the bail has been set at $2,500 or less. The defendant can be released from jail by posting 10 percent of the bond in cash. Assistance can come from a co-signer – any adult at least 18 years of age. While the defendant only must pay 10 percent of the cash bond total, the entire amount will be due if the defendant doesn’t show up for all scheduled court hearings. Cash bond is mainly used for misdemeanors, which have lower bail amounts.
Property bond – The defendant must provide paperwork showing the owner or owners of the property and each owner must present an affidavit agreeing to put up the property for bail. The equity value of the property must at least equal the amount of bail. The court receives title to the property and records its interest in the property in court.
Commercial surety bond – For defendants who cannot afford a cash bond and do not have property to post for a property bond, a commercial bond involves a bail bond agent. The agent enters into a contractual relationship with the defendant. For a premium of 10 percent of the bail, the bail bond agent agrees to guarantee the entire amount of the bail to the court. In order to pay the 10 percent premium when bail is very expensive, the defendant or an indemnitor can turn over collateral to the bail bond company.
- How to Get Bail
A defendant must first be booked in jail, a process that can take a couple of hours, depending on the facility. Once a judicial commissioner sets the bail, the defendant can post the amount in cash, ask for the help of a co-signer, or contact a bail bond company. The whole process can be initiated by phone from jail or with the help of a co-signer.
- What Will Bail Cost
That depends on what type of bail was used by the defendant. There is no cost when a defendant is released on his or her personal recognizance. With a cash bond, the defendant or a co-signer must pay 10 percent of the bail amount, which cannot be above $2,500. If the bail is higher, the defendant can post property that is at least equal in value to the bail. The defendant risks turning over the property to the court if he or she doesn’t show up to all scheduled court hearings. With commercial surety, the cost is 10 percent of the bail, a premium paid to the bail bond agent that is non-refundable.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
In general, judicial commissioners hold initial hearings to see defendants within hours of their arrest. If you are arrested late at night or on the weekend, the wait could be until the next day. Posting bail can take only a couple of hours, but if the charge is serious, the judicial commissioner cannot set bail and it can be another day before a hearing before a judge.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
Missing a court appearance violates the bail agreement with the state. The court will seize all cash bonds and will seek to get the rest of the money from the defendant or co-signer. If you posted a commercial surety bond, the court will collect the entire amount of that bail from the bail bond agent. The company, in the meantime, will try to collect the other 90 percent of the bond from the defendant or co-signer. The bail bond company may use a bail recovery agent to find the defendant. If the defendant returns to court, the judge may return the forfeited bail money. On the criminal side, the judge will issue an arrest warrant for the defendant for the original offense and for failure to appear in court.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.