- 5 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Own recognizance – Crowded jail conditions and pre-trial diversion programs are two of the most common ways to be released by simply signing an agreement promising to return for all court hearings. An OR release is generally reserved for non-violent offenders with no previous criminal record. A local criminal defense attorney will be familiar with the programs and situations in which an OR release is possible.
Conditional release – This is similar to an OR release, but includes stipulations that the defendant must agree to follow. These can range from weekly drug or alcohol testing and meetings with court personnel to restrictions from contacting a victim in the case.
Cash bond – The defendant or a co-signer puts up the entire amount of the bail in cash to the court. Since a bail bond agent is not involved, there is no premium that must be paid. The cash, minus any court costs or fees, is returned after the defendant has shown up for all court appearances in the case.
Surety bond – If a defendant cannot afford to pay the entire bail amount in cash, a surety bond requires only 10 percent of the entire bail amount. That premium is set by the state Department of Insurance and it should not vary from company to company. The agent guarantees the entire bail amount to the court. A bail bond agent may require collateral from a defendant or a friend or family member acting on behalf of a defendant.
Signature bond – This is another variation on the OR release. The defendant is still not required to pay bail to be released. However, a bail amount is set and must be honored if the defendant does not show up for all scheduled court hearings. This option is generally reserved for less serious crimes and defendants some criminal history but no previous instance of failure to appear in court.
- How to Get Bail
A defendant with enough cash only has to wait until the booking process has been completed. Bail bond agents are generally contacted by phone or email to begin the bail process. If a co-signer is involved, the agent can meet with that person, put together the bail paperwork and complete the process at the jail. It’s common for bail bond agents to require collateral from defendants and co-signers.
- What Will Bail Cost
Under Minnesota law, bail bond companies can charge a premium of 10 percent for their services. For example, if a defendant’s bail is $10,000, the premium is $1,000, which can be paid by the defendant or a co-signer. There is no 10 percent premium when a cash bond is paid by a defendant or co-signer.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
The range is from just a few hours to a couple of days, assuming that the crime wasn’t so serious that you could be held without bail. For misdemeanors, courts have bond schedules with preset amounts that make it easy to arrange for a bond immediately after being processed into jail. For more serious crimes, a court hearing is necessary for a judge to set bail. That must take place within 36 hours, under state law, but that doesn’t include weekends or holidays.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
A defendant will forfeit the bail agreement by failing to show up for a court appearance or for not fulfilling any conditions or stipulations set by the court. If that happens, the court will issue an arrest warrant and begin the bond forfeiture process. For a surety bond, the court will require the bail bond company to pay the entire amount of the bail. The bail bond agent will then seek to recover that amount from the defendant or a co-signer and will seize any collateral.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.