Bail process in Cleveland
A defendant arrested for a misdemeanor or felony in Clevland is often bought to the Cuyahoga County Jail, though other jail facilities are used as well. At that point, the defendant is processed and booked. That includes giving a psychological and medical history, fingerprints and photos. At that point, the defendant has an inmate number and will be allowed to call a family, friend or bail bondsman. Bond is often set quickly, with the help of a schedule, but more serious crimes require a bond hearing. Once the bond has been determined – and for some serious crimes bond may not be available – a defendant can post bond himself or bring in the help of a co-signer.
Types of jail release in Cleveland
- OR Bond. A defendant with an Own Recognizance bond is required to sign a contract promising to appear in court for all hearings connected to his or her case. However, no bail is required. OR bonds generally are only available to first-time defendants arrested for non-violent crimes. Anyone who has committed a crime of violence or a crime involving a child or the elderly will normally not be given an OR bond, even if the crime was a misdemeanor.
- Unsecured appearance bond. With both OR bonds and unsecured appearance bonds, the defendant is not required to pay any money before being released from jail. The main difference between the two is that a bail amount is set with an unsecured appearance bond. A defendant who skips bail must then pay then amount, along with other penalties.
- Standard bond. Under this bail release option, the defendant is allowed to pay 10 percent of the bail amount in cash to be released from jail. When the case is over, the defendant gets 90 percent of the standard bond returned. If, however, the defendant is found not guilty, or charges are dropped, the full standard bond is returned.
- Surety bond. A surety bond is a contract between the defendant, and a co-signer if one is involved, as well as the court and the bail bond company. State lawmakers set the bond premium at 10 percent in Cleveland and throughout the state. The bail bond company will guarantee payment of the entire bond to the court after receiving the premium. If a defendant doesn’t show up for all scheduled court hearings, he and any co-signer is then legally liable for the full amount of the bond. If the defendant shows up for all court hearings, the 10 percent payment is the cost of doing business and is not returned.
- Property bond. Property bonds are often used for more serious cases in which the bond amount is fairly high. The defendant, or a co-signer or both, can put up real estate or other property as collateral. Paperwork is required to establish ownership and sufficient equity in the property. Under Ohio law, the equity must be at least 150 percent of the total bond amount. This type of bond can often take several days or longer to complete.
Requirements for co-signers
These can vary slightly from company to company, but in general, a co-signer must establish the financial ability to pay the bond premium. A bond application must be filled out, but can usually be complete by phone, email or fax. In some cases, the bail bondsman will require collateral from a co-signer. If a defendant does not show up for all court hearings, the co-signer is legally liable for the entire amount of the bond and the bail bondsman can take the collateral to fulfill that obligation.
Bond costs and options
Cleveland judges have a schedule that spells out the standard bond schedule for all misdemeanors. The misdemeanor bonds range from $750 for fourth degree crimes to $3,000 for first offense domestic violence. Defendants can either pay 10 percent in cash to the court or pay a 10 percent premium to a bail bondsman. In all cases, defendants must also pay a $25 state surcharge. The state’s bond schedule does not include any specific charges for felonies. Those are set by the judge, a decision that a look at the specific crime as well as the defendant's connection to the community and previous criminal record.