- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Release on recognizance – An ROR release only requires a defendant to agree to return to court for any scheduled hearings. There is no bail set and no security is required from the defendant. This option is generally only offered to defendants with no prior convictions and a misdemeanor charge that did not involved violence against another person.
Signature bond – Similar to an ROR release except that bail is set and the amount is included in the bail agreement signed by the defendant. However, that bail amount does not have to be paid unless the defendant fails to show up for all court hearings. Often, a criminal defense attorney familiar with local courts and prosecutors is able argue on behalf of a client for an ROR release or a signature bond.
Cash bond – This option is not as popular in Wisconsin as it is in states where there is a private bail bond industry. A defendant, with or without the help of an individual surety, must pay the entire amount of the bail in cash to the court. Some of the money will be retained by the court to pay for restitution, fines, court costs and fees. The cash bond option is the quickest way to post bail because there is no need to call and wait for anyone to help with bail.
10 Percent surety bond – The surety is not a bail bond agent, but instead is an adult 21 and older willing to help the defendant – most often a relative or close friend. For a $100,000 bond, for example, the defendant or individual surety pays $10,000 in cash to the court. Much of the money is returned, similar to a cash bond, making a surety bond without the help of a bail bond company a more affordable way for a defendant to get out of jail. Any individual surety can expect to prove he or she is financially solvent.
- How to Get Bail
Proponents of the state handling bail without a private bail bond industry say one of the benefits is that the bail process is simpler, faster and fairer. A defendant need only wait until the booking process has been completed to either post a cash bond or seek the help of one or more individual sureties.
- What Will Bail Cost
The cost of a pre-trial release from jail is lower in a state such as Wisconsin with no private bail bond industry. The 10 to 20 percent that bail bond agents charge around the country is not an issue for defendants in Wisconsin. Instead, the cost need not be more than 10 percent of the bail – with much of that returned if the defendant shows up for all court hearings. A cash bond can be more expensive initially, but again, much of the money given to the court is returned when the defendant follows all release stipulations.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
Defendants not arrested for a serious felony or a crime of violence against another person will have to wait only a matter of hours to be released from jail in Wisconsin. The main delay would be the time for an individual surety to arrive and help with a cash bond or 10 percent bond. Defendants arrested for more serious felonies are subject to a bond hearing that may not always be held the day of arrest. Also, if a defendant believes the bail set was too high, it’s possible to argue for a reduction in a separate hearing, but that will often require another day in jail.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
A defendant with a skilled defense attorney is in a better position to explain a missed court appearance and have a bond forfeiture set aside if a judge decides the forfeiture “is not in the interest of justice.” A defendant who intentionally misses a court appearance has 30 days to return and explain the absence. At that point, the state can file for and receive a judgment for the entire amount of the bail – along with the costs of that court proceeding – against the defendant and any individual surety. At the same time, the court will issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant for bail jumping.
The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.