- 3 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Personal recognizance – This is known as PR bail in New Hampshire and is generally only available to defendants with little or no criminal history that have committed a misdemeanor that did not involve violence. A criminal defense attorney can help a defendant by arguing for PR bail, including offering conditions placed on the release such as restrictions on travel or who the defendant can see.
Cash bond – This option is only available to defendants who can afford to post the entire amount of bail in cash. A defendant also can enlist the help of a co-signer. The advantage of cash bail is that virtually all of the money is returned as long as the defendant shows up for all court appearances. If a bail bond company is utilized, a 10 percent premium must be paid.
Surety bond – When defendants cannot afford to pay the full bail amount in cash, a surety bond is a popular option. A bail bond agent enters into a contract with the defendant, and a co-signer if one is required. The defendant pays only 10 percent of the bail amount to the agent, and the bail bond company guarantees the entire amount to the court. However, if the defendant doesn’t show up for all court appearances, the bail bond company can collect the entire amount of the bail. Often, a bail bond agent will require a defendant or co-signer to put up collateral – such as stocks, CDs or other property – as part of the transaction.
- How to Get Bail
Once you have been fingerprinted, photographed and processed as a prisoner in jail, you will be given an opportunity to contact a family member or friend – or if you choose, a bail bond company. Whether you post a cash bail or sign a contract with a bail bond company for a surety bond, that first phone call can begin the process.
- What Will Bail Cost
The main cost comes if you hire a bail bond company in New Hampshire. State law allows these companies to charge a 10 percent premium – which is non-refundable – for providing surety bonds to defendants. There are other minor fees and court costs involved. If the defendant does not show up for all court appearances, the cost increases. The court in that situation will order a forfeit of the bond and the defendant and any co-signer will be required to pay the entire amount of the bail. Also, any collateral put up also will be seized in that situation.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
That depends on a couple of factors. If the amount of bail must be set by a judge or bail commissioner during a formal hearing that can sometimes involve a delay. The state has a bail schedule for most misdemeanor crimes, but more serious crimes usually require a bond hearing. For a misdemeanor with a preset bail amount, a defendant may only spend 2 to 5 hours in jail. However, a defendant arrested at night or on the weekend may have to wait until the next morning to post bail. Defendants can request that a bail commissioner be summoned to set bail. The cost for this service is $40.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
The court will immediately issue a bench warrant for the defendant, who now faces a second offense in addition to the crime that put him or her in jail in the first place. At the same time, the court will require the entire bail amount from a bail bond agent. The agent will then pursue collection of the full bail amount from the defendant and any co-signer. The bail bond company likely will send out an employee to try to bring the defendant back to court save some or all of the bail forfeiture charge.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.