- 5 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Recognizance bond – The defendant is asked only to sign an agreement to return for all court hearings. No payment is required. This type of bond is generally only given when misdemeanors are involved, there is little concern that the defendant will not show up and no prior convictions.
Cash bond – When a bail is set for a misdemeanor and is $2,500 or less, it is not uncommon for a defendant to choose a cash bond. That requires paying the entire amount of the bond, and a co-signer can be enlisted to handle some or all of the payment. Because a bail bond agent is not involved, there is no 10 percent premium that is lost with a cash bond.
10 Percent Cash bond – This type of bond is offered at the discretion of the court, and having a skilled criminal defense attorney can be a benefit for a defendant looking to pay 10 percent to the court instead of a bail bond agent. The court can also require that a third party be involved as a co-signer, increasing the likelihood that the defendant will show up for all scheduled court appearances. Generally, a defendant with more connections to the communities and few or no prior convictions will be offered this option.
Surety bond – When a defendant can’t afford to pay the entire bail amount in cash, a surety bond is a common option in Missouri. A bail bond agent accepts a 10 percent premium and guarantees the entire amount of the bail to the court. The agent may require a co-signer or collateral from the defendant or co-signer. The 10 percent premium is non-refundable.
Property bond – This type of bond is not as common, but state law requires that a person putting up property on behalf of a defendant must be at least 21 and a resident of the state. The property must be located within Missouri and the court requires a paid tax bill and other documents to establish ownership and sufficient equity in the property. A defendant cannot use his or her own property. The court receives a lien on the property and can foreclose if the defendant does not show up for all court hearings.
- How to Get Bail
Depending on the offense, there may be no need for a bond hearing. Missouri courts have bail schedules that include amounts determined for most misdemeanors. If the bail amount is known, the defendant can decide whether to post a cash bond or to contact a co-signer or bail bond company to arrange for a surety bond or property bond.
- What Will Bail Cost
The premium that can be charged by any bail bond company in Missouri is set at 10 percent by the state’s Department of Insurance. That means that 10 percent of the bail set by the court must be paid to the bail bond agent and is non-refundable. Additional costs are possible if the defendant doesn’t show up for all court hearings. That can lead to a bail forfeiture. In that situation, a defendant or co-signer loses the entire amount of a cash bond. For 10 percent bonds and surety bonds, the defendant or co-signer will be required to pay the entire bond to the court. .
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
That depends on the type of bail that’s used. Defendants released on their own recognizance are usually out of jail the same day they are arrested, unless the arrest occurs late in the day or at night. In general, the defendant must first wait for the booking process into jail to be completed. That can take longer at larger facilities. A cash bond takes only a matter of minutes because a bail bond agent is not involved. In many cases, surety bonds only require a few hours, as long as the crime has a preset bail amount. More serious felonies require at least an overnight stay for a bond hearing. Also defendants arrested late at night and on the weekend may have to wait a day or longer because of the timing.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
That could make things difficult for a friend or family member in the event a co-signer was involved. The co-signer will be required to pay the entire amount of the bail to reimburse the bail bond agent, who will be required to do the same by the court. On the criminal side, a warrant is issued for the defendant’s arrest, a second offense to deal with in addition to the original charge. The bail bond agent will likely hire a bounty hunter to search for the defendant and any reasonable charges incurred during that search must be paid by the defendant and/or a co-signer.