Bail process in Portland
Many defendants are brought to the Multnomah County Jail in Portland to be booked and processed. Once that procedure is completed, a defendant can contact a friend or relative by phone to make bail arrangements, unless the defendant has enough cash to post bail without any assistance. Oregon is one of the few states in the country that has no private bail bond industry – state officials believe the system penalizes the poor. Posting bail can take only a few hours for misdemeanor crimes, but the process is more time-consuming if the crime is more serious and a bond hearing must be held.
Types of jail release in Portland.
- Personal recognizance. This option is usually limited to non-violent misdemeanors and to defendants with no previous criminal history. The release can be made prior to arraignment by the Recognizance Officer in the jail or at arraignment by the judge. Bail is not set and no money is required for this release option.
- Bail. After abolishing the private bail industry in the state, Oregon officials instituted a 10 percent bail system. A defendant, with or without the help of a co-signer, can be released from jail after paying 10 percent of the total bail amount. A defendant who does not show up for all court hearings in the case will be liable for the entire amount of the bail. If a co-signer is involved, he or she is responsible to pay the entire amount of bail to the court.
- Pre-Trial Services release. The court may order a defendant to report to Pretrial Release Services. The agency monitors defendants, which could involve anything from daily reporting to a PRS agent or a phone call once or twice a week.
Posting bail for someone in Oregon
As long as you have 10 percent of the total amount of the bail – for example, a $5,000 bail would require a $500 payment – Oregon will accept bail from any adult on behalf of any defendant. It’s important to understand your responsibilities as an indemnitor in that situation – you are guaranteeing that the defendant will show up for all scheduled court hearings. If that doesn’t happen, you have agreed to try to find the defendant and to pay the entire amount of bail if the defendant violates any bail conditions. One option would be to put money into the defendant’s jail account. That way, the defendant is posting bail and you do not take on the specific obligations of an indemnitor.
Bond costs and options
Since there is no bail bond industry, there is no fee charged for posting bail – commonly 10 to 15 percent of the bail amount in most states. A defendant or indemnitor who posts 10 percent of the bail amount with the court will receive most of that money back – minus about 15 percent that is set aside for court administrative costs and an indigent defense fund. The only way additional costs are involved is when a defendant skips bail. Whoever put up the 10 percent with the court is legally on the hook for the entire amount of the bail in that situation.