- 5 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Cash bail – If the defendant or a co-signer can cover the entire amount of the bail, it’s possible to post a cash bail with the court and avoid paying any fee to a bail bond agent. This option is most common with misdemeanors, which have bail amounts that are often $2,500 or less.
Insurance company bond – This is the typical relationship with a bail bond company in which a 10 percent premium – established and regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services. The company guarantees the entire bail amount to the court and the defendant or a co-signer pays 10 percent of that amount.
Surety bond – While this sounds like a bail bond company situation, in New York, it refers to a third person – called an “obligor” – who agrees to pay some or all of the bail, depending on the order of the court. A surety bond can be partially secured or even unsecured. Under an unsecured surety bond, the obligor, referred to as a co-signer in other states, signs on behalf of the defendant and no bail payment is required unless the defendant does not show up for all scheduled court hearings.
Appearance bond – There are also three types of appearances bonds, which rely on the defendant to post whatever amount of bail is required. These bonds can be totally secured – such as a cash bond – partially secured or unsecured. An unsecured bond is similar to a release on recognizance, except there is a bail amount set that must be paid if the defendant does not show up in court.
Commercial bond – This involves putting up property that is located in the state. Paperwork must be available to show the ownership and the equity in the property – which must at least equal the amount of the bail. This option is often used for higher bail amounts. The court receives a lien on the property and can foreclose if the defendant does not show up for all scheduled court hearings.
- How to Get Bail
For cash bail, the payment can be made can be made in court, once the booking process has been completed. Bail also can be paid at any city jail. A defendant can also contact a bail bond agent – or have a family member or friend make the contact – and begin the process of completing the bond. Not all jails accept bail bonds, but your bail bond agent will be familiar with the local practices and procedures.
- What Will Bail Cost
The state of New York has set the bail premium – the amount that bail bond companies must charge – at 10 percent. That means the premium on a bail set at $35,000 would be $3,500. There also are some state charges and court fees as well. The premium is nonrefundable. An additional cost is possible if the defendant does not show up for all court hearings and the bond is ordered forfeited.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
The process to book a defendant into jail usually takes a couple of hours. After that, the defendant moves forward with one of the bail options, as long as the amount of bail is known. That’s almost always the case with misdemeanor crimes, but with many felony crimes, there is a delay for an arraignment at which the bail amount is determined. A defendant arrested in the evening or on the weekends will spend more time in jail – often at least an overnight stay – but New York law says all defendants should see a judge within 24 hours of arrest – not including weekends and holidays.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
If it was not your intent to “skip bail” it’s possible for a skilled criminal defense attorney to argue on your behalf and there may be no repercussions, though your bail may be reinstated at a higher amount. If that’s not the case, the court will begin the bail forfeiture process. If you used a bail bond agent, the company will lose the entire amount of your bail and will seek that money from you and any co-signer involved. In addition, any collateral put up will be seized. The court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and the bail bond company may hire a bounty hunter to try to find you and bring you back to court.
This article is for informational purposes only. Consult an attorney for legal advice.