- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Own recognizance – A defendant can request to be released on his or her own recognizance. This requires the involvment of Nevada Pretrial Services to make a recommendation to the court. If an OR release is approved, the defendant is not required to pay bail and instead signs documents promising to show up to all scheduled court hearings.
Cash bond – The fastest way to get out of jail is by paying the entire bail amount in cash. Of course, this depends on the amount of cash available to the defendant and perhaps a co-signer. The benefit of posting a cash bond is the defendant saves the fee that must be paid when a bail bond agent is used. However, a negative is that the cash bond ties up money that many defendants need to hire a lawyer in the case.
Surety bond – When the amount of the bail is too high to be paid in cash, or if a defendant chooses not to pay the entire bail amount, a bail bond company can be hired. A bail bond agent will issue a contract that allows a defendant to pay only 15 percent of the bail. The agent guarantees the entire amount to the court and keeps the 15 percent for his or her services. A co-signer may be used, and the defendant and co-signer may be requested to put up collateral – often property such as jewelry and cars – in the event the defendant does not show up for all court hearings. If there is a bond forfeiture, the defendant or co-signer must pay the other 90 percent of the bail.
Property bond – For more serious crimes, which come with higher bails, some defendants or co-signers put up homes and other property to cover the amount of the bail. This is different from collateral because the property must fully guarantee the entire amount of the bond. The property must be located in Nevada and the owner must have sufficient equity to cover the amount of the bail. This bail option requires the most paperwork and usually takes the most time. In the end, the court has a lien on the property that can be enforced in the event the bail is forfeited.
- How to Get Bail
Once the paperwork, photographs and fingerprinting associated with the booking process have been completed, a defendant can simply post a cash bond. If the defendant doesn’t have enough money, he or she can call a family member or friend for help – which can include contacting a bail bond company for a surety or property bond.
- What Will Bail Cost
In Nevada, all bail bond companies are required to charge a 15 percent premium for bail – no more and no less. Some companies will offer a payment plan, particularly with larger bail amounts. If a defendant or co-signer posts a cash bond, a $50 court charge is usually added. For example, for a domestic violence arrest in Nevada with no aggravating circumstances, the bail is often set at $3,000. If the defendant can’t afford that amount, a bail bond agent will charge $450, which is nonrefundable. In addition, there are other mostly minor fees and court costs required.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
That will depend on the offense involved and time of the arrest. For virtually all misdemeanors, Nevada courts have a bail schedule so that a separate bail hearing – which is often held the following weekday morning – isn’t necessary. The booking process is usually anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the facility. If a bail bond company is hired for a surety bond or property bond, that procedure usually adds another 1 to 3 hours. However, a defendant arrested at night or on the weekend will usually have to wait overnight to post bail. If a bail hearing is necessary, it will take place at a defendant’s initial court appearance, which must occur within 72 hours of arrest, not including weekends or holidays.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
The court will order a bail forfeiture in two situations: if any conditions of bail are not followed or if the defendant does not show up for all court appearances. With a bail forfeiture, the court will seek the entire bail amount from a bail bond company. In turn, the company will seize any collateral and attempt to collect the entire bail amount from the defendant and any co-signer. The court also issues a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant for failure to appear. In Nevada, that is a separate crime punishable by up to 25 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. The bail bond company will likely attempt to track down and bring the defendant back to court in order to avoid losing some or all of the bail guaranteed for the defendant.