Once you have been arrested and are in prison, you must think of only one thing: how to get out! Normally, getting out of jail is accomplished by posting a “bond.” Bail is usually a sum of money or property of monetary value that you give to the court to guarantee that you will attend court when ordered. Generally, if you appear in court when you are supposed to be released from prison, the court will return your bond. However, if you do not appear, the court will keep your bond and probably issue an arrest warrant against you, which means you will go back to prison…
The Bond Determination Process
If you’ve been arrested, you would probably want to know your bond as soon as possible. Suppose you must see a judge before your bail is set. In that case, you will probably spend some time in prison, perhaps a weekend (sometimes this is a tactic used by the police: they arrest you on a Friday, which means the soonest who will see a judge determine bail is Monday) and even up to five days. However, if you were arrested for a type of everyday crime, prisons often have a table that can be used to determine standard bail amounts, and you only need to pay the stipulated amount to get out.
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution determines that it is prohibited to set excessive bail against detainees. This is so that bail cannot be used as a way for the government to collect money or punish a person for being arrested. The eighth Amendment is designed to ensure that the bond is not used for a purpose other than providing that a detainee appears in court at the indicated time. The bond cannot exceed a reasonable amount to achieve that purpose. Despite the Eighth Amendment theory, judges often set high bail amounts to prohibit a detainee from being released from prison. This type of excessive bail is generally used for people who have been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking, homicide, or other crimes for which they are very likely to escape.
Many people have claimed that this type of high fine violates the 8th Amendment, but almost none have been successful. There are also cases where the bond is set at a reasonable amount, but the detainee still cannot pay it. When this happens, the detainee must wait to ask the judge to lower the bail amount at a special hearing or during the defendant’s first court appearance. Depending on your particular situation, the judge may choose to reduce the amount of your bond, which may make it easier for you to get out of prison.
When you “post the bond,” you are posting the amount that was determined for your bond. This can usually be done in a few days, including:
- payment in cash or check for the amount of your bond;
- the transfer of the ownership rights of an asset that has a pecuniary value equal to or greater than the amount of its bond;
- the delivery of security (a promise to pay if you do not appear) for the full amount of your bond; or
- signing a statement that you will appear in court in due time, generally called “parole.”
If you have the option of parole, you should take advantage of this opportunity. In general, to be released on your own recognizance, you simply have to sign a document in which you agree to appear in court when ordered. To be released on parole, you will probably have to apply at your first court appearance in front of a judge. If you are denied this request, you can always request a lower bond amount. Several factors can lead a judge to release you on parole, many of which relate to your ties to the community in which you were arrested. Factors that could justify your request for parole include:
- have close family members residing in the community;
- have been raised or lived in the community for several years;
- have a job in the community;
- have no criminal record, not even minor crimes;
- have a good record of court appearances when you should have previously.
Talk to a Qualified Bail Bondsman Today
This article is intended to be informative and helpful, but legal matters can be complicated and stressful. A qualified agent can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now, and contact professionals like The Better Bail to discuss your unique legal situation.