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How Judges Set Bail, And Using Bail Bonds

When you end up arrested and behind bars, getting released is your first priority. There are several issues that affect your ability to get out of jail and bail is one of them. Read on to find out how judges commonly view bail and how to make arrangements to be released using a bonding agent.

No Bail

If the crime is serious enough, you might have no choice but to remain behind bars. Those charged with serious offenses like rape and murder might have more of a challenge convincing the judge that they are not a danger to the public so that they can be released. Your criminal defense attorney can ask for a bail hearing in an effort to have bail offered. If you can show that you will return for later hearings, stay in the area, not commit other crimes, etc, you might be granted bail.

Bail is Offered

In most cases, bail is offered to almost all of those accused of crimes based on a set schedule. While the schedule might, for example, state that a defendant's bail for possession of drug paraphernalia is $10,000, the judge has the power to charge more or less than the scheduled amount for various reasons. For example, if you are not a resident of the state where you were arrested, you may be considered a flight risk and charged a higher bail.

If you are offered bail, you have two choices. You can either pay the full bail to the courts and gain release or you can pay a bonding agent to arrange for your release. Bonding agents work with the courts using what is known as a surety bond. This bond is a promise to the court that the accused will appear for all subsequent court dates. The surety bond is a substitute for the bail (and is the same price as the bail).

Paying a Bail Bonding Agent

For the defendant's part, they must pay the bonding agent a fee, known as a premium. This fee is a non-refundable charge amounting to a certain percentage of the bail. If the bail is $5,000 and the bail bonding agent charges a 15% premium, you must pay the bonding agent $750. In some cases, you must make an additional pledge to the bonding agent of property. This is the same thing as collateral. It provides the bonding agent with additional insurance that you will appear in court. You might, for instance, provide the bonding agent with your car title as collateral. If you fail to appear, you can expect the bonding agent to do everything in their power to bring you to jail. Failure to produce a defendant means having to pay the full bail amount and no bonding company wants to do that.

To find out more about bail bonds, speak to a local bonding agency.