- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Own recognizance – It’s possible to be released without paying bail, often through a pre-trial release program operated either by the county or local law enforcement officials. A defendant released on his or her own recognizance signs an agreement promising to show up for all court appearances. A criminal defense attorney familiar with local release programs may be able to convince officials to grant an OR release.
Cash bond – The defendant or a co-signer must pay the entire amount of the bail in cash. The court may also accept property such as bonds or CDs as payment for bail. Since the payment is directly to the court, there is no charge involved similar to the premium charged by a bail bond agent. 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.
Commercial Surety bond – The premium in Montana is 12 percent with a minimum bail amount set by the Department of insurance at $60. This option is usually chosen by defendants who cannot afford a cash bail. The bond is a contractual relationship that involves the defendant – and a co-signer if there is one – the court and the bail bond company. The agent guarantees the entire amount of the bail while only requiring the 12 percent, which is non-refundable.
Property bond – Any property that is used as bail must be located in the state and all owners must sign over the property. There also must be sufficient equity to pay for the bail in the event the defendant does not show up for all scheduled court hearings. At that point, the court can utilize its lien to force a foreclosure of the property and a sale to pay off the amount of the bail.
- How to Get Bail
The first step is to be booked into jail first. If the offense is a misdemeanor, the bail amount is included on a schedule that is available in all courts in the state. That makes it possible for the defendant to quickly post a cash bail or arrange for a commercial surety bond.
- What Will Bail Cost
The state charges a $25 fee for cash bail and are there some state and court fees in addition to the amount of the bail. If a bail bond agent is hired, the major cost is the 12 percent bail premium that goes to the agent. That fee is not required for a cash bail because a bail bond agent is not involved. Additional costs come into play if the defendant does not show up for all court hearings and the bail is forfeited. That will affect the defendant and any co-signer – both are legally responsible for the entire amount of bail in the event of a forfeiture.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
That can vary depending on when the arrest takes place and the crime involved. Since misdemeanors have preset bail amounts, there is no need to wait for a bail hearing – which is generally the next business day but must be within 48 hours of the arrest. For a misdemeanor offense and a cash bail, the defendant might wait 2 to 4 hours to be released from jail. Add a few hours if a bail bond agent is involved. For defendants arrested at night or on the weekend, there could be an overnight wait involved.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
A missed court appearance triggers a bail forfeiture. However, if the defendant returns to court within 90 days, the judge can decide to reverse the forfeiture order. A bail bond agent will be required to pay the entire amount of the bail to the court and will look to the defendant and any co-signer to be reimbursed. Any collateral given by the defendant or co-signer will be seized and sold. In the meantime, the court will issue a bench warrant for the defendant, who faces higher than normal penalties for committing any crime while at-large.