Most people understand the basic idea of a bail bond; you pay someone money to get out of jail while awaiting trial following an arrest. However, beyond the basic, there is a lot about the bail bond process the average person doesn't know.
Thing #1: You Can't Always Get Bail
First, many people assume that you can always post bail. However, that is not always the case. In some states, there are certain offenses that you may not be able to post bail on. Don't assume you can get out on bail; you need to know what you are charged with and then find out if you can get out on bail with that charge.
Thing #2: Sometimes You Don't Have to Appear Before a Judge
In movies, whenever someone is arrested, they have to appear before a judge before they are granted bail. However, that isn't true in every case. Many states use bail guidelines that set your bail at a specific amount based on what you were charged with. States use guidelines to make it easier to process arrests and to lessen the burden on the courts.
Thing #3: Sometimes Bail Is Waived
Sometimes, you don't end up needing to pay bail at all. Sometimes the judge will look over your case and will decide to release you on your own recognizance. That means they will let you go without requiring you to pay any money; they just require you to return. Sometimes it is worth it to wait to go before the judge if this is your first arrest, and the charges are not that serious; you may not have to pay anything.
Thing #4: Paying Your Bail in Full Isn't Always a Smart Choice
Even if you have the money to pay your bail in full with cash, that isn't always a smart choice. If you pay your full bail amount with cash, that shows the courts that you have access to money, and a public prosecutor may not be assigned to your case. If you have the money for bail, but don't have the money to pay for an attorney, you should work with a bail bond agent to secure your bail. That way, if you need a public defender, you can show that you use a bail bond agent to secure your bail.
Thing #5: Bail Bond Agents Accept Multiple Forms of Collateral
Finally, when you work with a bail bond agent, they will ask you to provide them with ten percent of the bail bond amount as their fee. Bail bond agents are generally willing to accept non-cash forms of collateral, such as physical belongings.
If you are arrested, call a bail bond agency so you can learn everything you need to know about the process of posting bail where you were arrested.
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