- 5 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Released on recognizance – Referred to as an ROR release, the defendant is released from jail without having to post any bond. In general, defendants must have no previous criminal history, a home and connection to the general area so that there is little concern that they won’t show up to all court hearings.
Cash bond – Bonds on misdemeanors can be as low as $100 and many are $2,500 or lower. That makes them affordable for some defendants to pay in cash, even though the entire amount of bail must be paid with a cash bond. A defendant can also enlist the help of a co-signer. When the case is over, the defendant or co-signer receives the entire amount minus only court fees and costs.
Cash with 10 percent bond – This is an option that requires the defendant or a co-signer to put up 10 percent of a bail in cash and sign an agreement to pay the rest in the event of a bond forfeiture. This option requires the defendant or a co-signer to put up cash rather than paying 10 percent to a bail bond company.
Surety bond – A defendant who can’t afford the cash bond or cash with 10 percent option usually will turn to a bail bond company in New Jersey. A surety bond involves a contract between the bail bond company, the court and the defendant – and perhaps a co-signer. The cost is a 10 percent non-refundable premium to the bail bond agent. If the defendant doesn’t show up for all scheduled court hearings, the bail bond company will enforce the contract and collect the rest of the bail from the defendant and co-signer.
Property bond – Spending money on one of the three bond options that require a cash payment can make it difficult for many defendants to then be able to hire an attorney to provide a criminal defense. The upside to a property bond is that any cash the defendant and any family or friends have is saved for the court case. The downside is the risk that a house, car or other property could be lost if the defendant doesn’t show up for all court hearings, as required.
- How to Get Bail
In nearly all cases involving misdemeanors, and in some cases with felony arrests, the bail has already been determined and is included on a bail schedule in court. The defendant can choose to pay that full amount in cash. If not, the defendant or family members can decide whether to contact an attorney for advice in the bail process or immediately begin the process of hiring a bail bond company.
- What Will Bail Cost
As long as the defendant shows up for scheduled court hearings, the cost to get out of jail is 10 percent of the bail amount for three of the bond options and only fees and court costs for a cash bond and property bond. The costs could be significantly higher if the defendant doesn’t show up in court any of the five bond options must be forfeited.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
It’s possible to be released from jail after only a few hours if the offense was not a serious felony and was included on a bail schedule in courts throughout New Jersey. A cash with 10 percent bond or a surety bond can add as little as a few hours more in jail, according to bail bond agents. However, if the crime is a serious felony and requires a bond hearing, the wait could be longer, often overnight, for a bond hearing. Also, a defendant arrested late at night or on the weekend will have to wait longer than a defendant arrested during weekly court hours.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
The court will issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant and the bail forfeiture process begins. If the defendant is not returned to court within the 75-day grace period alowed under New Jersey law, the bail bond company must pay the entire amount of the surety bond. The same is true for the defendant or co-signer with the cash bond and 10 percent cash bond. The bail bond company usually will hire a bail agent to find the defendant within that 75-day grace period to try to avoid paying the entire amount of the bail. When the defendant is returned to court, unless the judge accepts an excuse for missing a court appearance, bail will either be set at a much higher amount or the defendant will be held without bail.