Bail process explained
Jail is one of the last places you want to be. But, if you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense and taken into police custody you will be booked and jailed. Once you are jailed, your release before you appear in court for your offense usually will depend on whether or not you can post bail, or the amount of money the court sets for your release.
After you are jailed, you will go through a bail process to get released. You’ll first be booked into police custody, where your personal information, fingerprints and photographs are taken, and the offense is recorded. After that, you’ll go through arraignment. During the arraignment, you are read formal charges and given a chance to arrange your release. Authorities primarily want to know if you will show up for court dates. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, your record, or whether you are a danger or flight risk, you may be released on your own recognizance.
For some cases, the written promise to appear in court needs to be backed up with bail, as a financial guarantee to appear in court. In some cases, if you have violated your probation you will be ineligible for bail. However, if you have a probation violation in Clearwater, FL, James Brennan Bail Bonds may be able to help.
How is bail set?
Bail proceedings may differ somewhat for each court, but bail is generally determined through a similar process like that listed below. A bail hearing is held and during the hearing the court will determine bail based on these factors:
- Seriousness of the offense
- Physical and mental condition
- Financial resources
- Family ties
- History of drug and alcohol
- Criminal history
- Previous record for appearing at court
- How long you’ve lived in the community
Can you bail yourself out of jail?
Yes. If you are able to pay cash, you can bail yourself out. You can also post bail yourself with a property bond. Both can be forfeited if you fail to appear in court. If you make all court appearances, your bail will be refunded.
Cash bail process
Bail must be paid for in cash or with a money order or cashier’s check, so to bail yourself out you must have the bail amount available in cash on hand.
How does a bail bond work?
If you cannot afford to post bail yourself, you usually have to go to a bail bond agent who helps you finance your bail. To find an agent, you may need to do some research online for someone nearby.
Bail bonds process
Usually, your bond is posted by a friend or family member. The bond agent usually charges 10% to 20% of the total bail as a fee and agrees to the pay the court if you fail to appear in court.
If you have good credit, are a long-time resident of the community, have a stable job, and this is the first offense, you can also pay a bail bond yourself, but the bond is usually posted by a friend or family member.
Do you get money back from bail bondsman?
Normally, when you bond out of jail with a bail bonds agent, the bondsman will write a surety bond, which pays a percentage amount of the bail. The percentage you pay to a bail bondsman is non-refundable. It is the fee the bondsman receives to ensure you make all required court appearances.
Your bail will be returned if you pay cash and make all court appearances. If you fail to show up, the money you’ve paid is forfeited. Similarly, if you’ve secured a property bond for the bail, if you fail to make your court appearance, the property will get seized by the court.
What happens if you bond someone out and they run?
Anyone signing a bail bond contract to bail someone out of jail is held legally responsible, along with the bail bonds agent, to see that the defendant shows up to all required court appearances. While a failure to appear for problems such as car trouble can usually be resolved with a phone call. However, if the defendant willfully fails to show or goes on the run, you and the bonding agent are responsible for getting that person to court.
Bonding agents can enlist a fugitive recovery person or bounty hunter to apprehend someone who has run. If the defendant hasn’t been apprehended in a certain amount of time, you are responsible for paying the full amount of the bond, along with any expenses the bond agent has incurred trying to apprehend the defendant.
Bail process timeline
Once you post bail, a defendant is usually released from jail within 6 to 8 hours. Bail hearings can also be delayed, especially if the defendant is arrested on a Friday or weekend.
Call us for help
Anytime you need help bailing someone out of jail in Clearwater, FL, give James Brennan Bail Bonds give us a call at __PHONE__.