- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Own recognizance – An OR release, which does not require the defendant to post any security in order to be released from jail, often is part of a pre-trial program. There are a number of different programs operated in counties throughout the state, and officials with each particular program generally interview defendants to make sure they meet any requirements for that specific program. In general, only defendants with no prior criminal arrests who pose no danger of flight and have been arrested for a non-violent crime are granted on OR release.
Cash bond – This option is generally only used with misdemeanor crimes in which the amount of bail is fairly low. That’s because a defendant or co-signer must post the entire amount of bail to be released. That money, minus fines and court fees, is returned as long as the defendant shows up for scheduled court hearings.
Property bond – This bail option is infrequently used because the court receives title to the property and can go forward with foreclosure proceedings if a defendant fails to show up for all scheduled court hearings. For some higher bail amounts, a property bond is used and there are a number of requirements to establish ownership, the value of the property and the equity held by the owner. A property bond will often result in a longer wait in jail than other bail options.
Surety bond – A defendant unable to afford a cash bond can hire a bail bond company to guarantee most of the bail to the court. The cost is usually 10 percent, though there is no set minimum or maximum bail premium in Washington. A defendant can also get help from a co-signer, and both will be legally liable if the defendant does make all court appearances. In many cases, the defendant or co-signer or both will be required to put up collateral that can be seized if the defendant jumps bail.
- How to Get Bail
After being booked into a local law enforcement facility or county jail, a defendant will often be informed of the amount of bail from a preset bail schedule that covers most misdemeanors. For a more serious crime, the defendant must wait for an arraignment for bail to be established. Once the amount of bail is known, the defendant can post a cash bond or make a phone call to begin the process of a surety bond. That could involve a co-signer contacting a bail bond company or the defendant. A co-signer also can post all or some of a cash bond.
- What Will Bail Cost
For bail paid in cash, the only cost is cost fees and fines, assuming the defendant shows up for all scheduled court appearances. If a bail bond company is hired, the minimum cost for any bond is $50, under Washington state law. In general, bail bond companies charge 10 percent of the bail amount. This fee is nonrefundable. It is possible to find bail bond companies that charge different bail premiums because the law does not set a maximum or minimum.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
There are a number of different factors that go into that determination. For example, booking and processing at a larger, busier county jail takes hours longer than at smaller police stations. Posting a cash bond, even with the help of a co-signer, is faster than hiring a bail bond agent. Bail bond officials say getting the information and completing the paperwork for a surety bond often takes no more than a couple of hours. At that point, it’s a matter of the processing time at the facility where the defendant is being detained. For more serious crimes, bond hearings must be held, and in some cases, defendants may want to argue for a lower bond or one with different conditions, which also adds to the time in jail.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
A defendant who immediately contacts court – and the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is invaluable – and explains the circumstances behind the missed appearance may not be penalized. However, bail jumping is a crime and the penalty depends on the original offense that brought the defendant to jail. If it was a misdemeanor, bail jumping is an additional misdemeanor crime. If the original offense was a felony, bail jumping is a second felony offense. If the court orders a bail forfeiture, the bail bond company will be required to pay the entire amount of bail to the court, and will seek that amount from the defendant and any co-signer.
The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.