If you're going to court over an arrest, you'll have two options. The first is to stay in custody until the date of the trial, which could be months from now, or post bail and wait for trial at home.
What Is Bail?
Bail is an amount of money the court determines is fair as insurance for your release from custody. For example, if you're a low flight risk and didn't commit a violent crime, a bail amount of $1,000 might be fair. For someone who committed a violent crime, the court may decide to make bail incredibly high, like $1,000,000 or more, or set no bail amount at all.
How Does Bail Work?
Bail can work in one of two ways. The first is that you have the option of posting a cash bond. You can post this yourself, or someone can post it on your behalf. As long as you attend all the court dates set for your case, you'll receive that money back. The court may take out criminal penalties, fees, and fines from the bond.
The second way you can obtain bail is through a bail bondsman. This kind of bond is known as a surety bond. Whoever purchases the bond pays a set fee, then the bondsman pays the full bail to the court. As long as you appear at all your court dates, you won't pay anything else to that bondsman. However, if you skip a date, your bail will not be refundable. If you paid for a surety bond, the bail bondsman can locate you and take you to the court to be surrendered.
When Is Bail Set?
Your bail will be set during the first appearance, which is your first appearance in front of a judge. Usually, this takes place within 24 hours, so you shouldn't have to wait long to find out how much your bail will be.
After the judge reviews your case, they will do one of five things. They may set a monetary bond, revoke a previously set bond, place you on supervised release, decide you can be released on your own recognizance (ROR), or raise or lower your bond amount if one was previously set.
Once this takes place, you're in a position to post bail if it's allowed. If not, you will either stay in custody or be released with the responsibility of following any court-ordered actions.
Contact a bail bonds company like Pat's Bonding for more information.