- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Release on recognizance – Known as an ROR release, releasing a defendant on recognizance means no bail is set and no money is paid. Instead, the defendant agrees to return for all scheduled court appearances. ROR is generally only given to defendants who are likely to return to court. If a judge has any concerns about granting an ROR release, it’s common for conditions to be attached to the release. These conditions may restrict who the defendant can see or require the defendant to check in daily with a court employee. A release without paying bail also is possible for defendants who qualify for pre-trial diversion programs.
Cash bond – This is one of the easiest ways to get out of jail after an arrest. If the defendant has enough cash to pay the entire bail amount – or can get that amount of cash from a co-signer – he or she only has to wait until the booking process is completed to post bond. Since a bail bond company is not involved, there is no premium payment involved. Instead, a defendant who shows up for all court appearances would receive the entire cash bond, minus only court costs and fees.
Surety bond – For more serious misdemeanors and felonies, the amount of bail often is too high for a defendant or co-signer to pay. In that case, the defendant can arrange for a surety bond with a bail bond agent. This involves a contract between the defendant, the bail bond agent and the court. The defendant pays the 10 percent premium established under Mississippi law and the bail bond agent agrees to guarantee the full amount of bail. As long as the defendant shows up for all court appearances, the defendant or co-signer is released from the bail agreement. The 10 percent premium is non-refundable.
Property bond – This is the most complicated way to post bond and usually takes the most time. The defendant, or a co-signer, can only use property located in the state. Paperwork must establish ownership and equity in the property at least $20,000 greater than the amount of the bail, according to Mississippi law. The court is granted a lien on the property and can foreclose in the event the defendant does not show up for all court hearings.
- How to Get Bail
The first step is for a defendant to be booked into jail, which involves fingerprinting, a photograph and paperwork. Once the booking process is complete, the defendant is allowed to make a phone call to arrange for bail, assuming he or she doesn’t have enough cash to post bond without any assistance. The call can be to a loved one or friend or directly to a bail bond company.
- What Will Bail Cost
The Mississippi Department of Insurance regulates bail bond agents in the state and has set the bail premium – the amount that bail bond agents can charge – at 10 percent. The minimum charge for bail is 10 percent of the bail amount, or $100, whichever is greater. If the bail is for someone who lives outside the state who has been booked with a serious felony, the premium is 15 percent and there is an additional $50 bail bond processing fee. For cash bonds, the money is refunded once the defendant has appeared at all scheduled court hearings, minus only court fees. .
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
Under Mississippi law, a defendant has a right to see a judge within 48 hours of arrest, although that doesn’t include weekends and holidays. However, for most misdemeanor crimes and less serious felonies, the wait in jail is much less than 48 hours. Most courts have preset bonds for a variety of crimes. The booking process usually takes a couple of hours or less and arranging for bail often takes about the same amount of time. However, even with a preset, misdemeanor bond, a defendant arrested late at night or on the weekend will have to wait at least until the next morning for the opportunity to post bail. For a more serious crime, an additional wait could be necessary to attend a bond hearing before a judge.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
Missing a court appearance triggers the bail forfeiture process. The court will issue an arrest warrant and if a bail bond company was involved, a bounty hunter may be hired to bring the defendant back to court. A defendant who returns to court within 90 days and explains the reason for missing the court appearance may be able to stop the forfeiture process. If that doesn’t happen, the court or bail bond agent will seek the entire bail amount from the defendant and any co-signer and any collateral will be seized.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.