Bail Bonds & Procedures: Understanding Your Options
At The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq., we understand that navigating the complexities of the legal system can be daunting, especially when it comes to the bail process. To assist you, we've compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about what it entails to post bail, payment methods, and what steps to take if bail seems unaffordable.
- What Does It Mean To "Post Bail?"
- Who Decides the Bail Amount?
- Are There Limits to Bail Amounts?
- What Options Do I Have if I'm Unable To Afford Bail?
- How Quickly Can I Expect To See a Judge?
- How Can I Pay for Bail?
- Can a Reliable Defendant Be Released Without Paying?
Posting bail involves depositing cash, property, or a bond to the court as a guarantee that the accused will appear for their scheduled court dates. If the individual complies, the court refunds the bail. Failure to appear results in the court retaining the bail and releasing an arrest warrant. Forms of bail include:
- The entire amount in cash or check
- Property valued at the total amount required
- A bail bond, which guarantees the full amount
- A "release on one's own recognizance" (O.R.), where payment is waived upon the individual's promise to appear
Bail amounts are typically set by judges. However, jails often have predetermined bail schedules for common offenses to expedite release. Paying the set amount on these schedules can lead to quicker release.
Yes, the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that bail cannot be excessive. Its core intent is not to generate revenue or to punish, but to ensure the accused remains free during trial without risk of absconding. In some cases, high bail might be set to secure a suspect's presence for the trial. Although the constitutionality of such 'preventative detention' is debated, it remains practiced in some courts.
If the bail schedule's amount is out of reach, you may request a judge to lower it. This petition can be made during a special bail-setting hearing or at the arraignment.
The federal mandate requires that detained individuals be presented to a magistrate "without unnecessary delay," which generally means within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. State timelines can vary but generally adhere to a similar framework.
Bail can be paid through direct full payment or by purchasing a bail bond, representing your promise to appear in court. Bail bonds typically require a 10% premium of the bail amount, paid to a bond seller. While you get the full bail amount back after appearing in court, the bond premium is non-refundable, and collateral might be required. Bear in mind that cash, money orders, or cashier's checks are usually preferred for transactions.
Under certain conditions, such as a history of community ties and prior responsible court attendance, a defendant might be released "on his own recognizance" (O.R.), which means signing a pledge to appear in court, bypassing the need for bail payment.
For additional assistance or to discuss your specific situation, contact The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq. at 303-355-5148 to schedule a consultation. We're committed to guiding you through the bail process and advocating for your rights every step of the way.