BAIL: Getting out of Jail

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Most people want nothing more than to stay out of Jail. Once arrested, the law requires that the prosecution file charges and bring you to court within 48 hours of your arrest. So, you have two options. You can immediately bail out, or wait until your arraignment in court when your lawyer can ask the court to release you on your own recognizance (OR release) or to reduce the original amount of bail to a lesser amount. Some people, mostly for financial reasons, wait until their arraignment to see if they can either get an OR release or lower bail that they can afford.

The law requires the judge to base his decision on two factors.

1) Protection of Public – Whether the defendant poses a threat to society.
To determine this the court considers: the seriousness of offense charged, whether there was involved an Injury, Firearm, or alleged threats, whether the defendant is on trial for another action, and the defendant’s Prior Criminal Record.
2) Probability of the defendant appearing (Flight Risk)

The first and primary factor the judge must look at is whether or not the defendant presents a risk of danger to the safety of a particular person or society in general. Here, the judge evaluates whether or not the crime charged involved injury, firearms, violence or other crimes.

The second factor is whether the defendant poses a flight risk of attending future court appearances if released on bail. Here, the judge looks for the defendant’s ties to the community. Factors include: whether the defendant is a resident of the community and, if so, is he a long-term or short-term resident, the defendant’s employment status and history, family ties and other factors that show either a strong or weak connection to the local community. The court may also evaluate the potential severity of the sentence which might induce a defendant to flee.

In each case, the court will evaluate both flight risk and dangerousness in determining whether or not to give a defendant an OR (own recognizance) release or a reduction in bail. The defendant’s lawyer can help tremendously by contacting family, friends and employers to obtain employment and residential letters confirming the defendant as peaceful man with a good reputation in his community. Family and friends also may wish to attend the defendant’s arraignment and bail review hearings to speak directly to the judge on behalf of the defendant.

A good attorney can often suggest No Bail alternatives, such as Supervised OR release subject to certain conditions, such as chemical testing, submitting to search and seizure etc. This is a key stage as it is important to get out of Jail and back to your life and working on your case.

To post bail, there are three options:
1) Post the full Cash Bond. (Your money is returned to you once your case is over and the bail bond is “exonerated”)
2) Pay a Bail Bondsman to post bail for you. The bondsman charges you 10% of the total amount of Bail as his fee (you don’t get it back).
3) Post a Property Bond. This is where the court allows you to place a lien on your assets (car or house) as a Bond, as long as the asset is appraised at twice (2x) the value of the Bond. Setting up a property bond costs approximately $2500 and takes over a week.

Which method is most economical depends on the amount of Bail. A good criminal attorney works with a Bail Bondsman to take care of this matter for you quickly and easily. This way, you can stay out of Jail!