How Bail And The Bail Bond Process Work For You

When faced with the possibility of spending time in jail waiting for your hearing, bail gives you a way to quickly get back home. If posting bail is a financial hardship for you, then the bail bonds process is there for you. Here is what you need to know about both of these mechanisms and how they get you home to your own bed.

Reducing Backups in the Local Jails

Before bail, people would wait in jail until a judge reviewed their case. Jails filled up as judges became backed up with work. To prevent people charged with minor offenses from spending this time in jail, bail was developed.

In exchange for paying a sum to the court system, you get to go home and wait until your hearing date. You pay the court clerk and, when you return for your hearing, you get the money back. This uses the honor system and, if you don't come back for your hearing, you forfeit your bail money to the court.

Bail is Set by a Judge

The process starts when a judge sets a bail amount for your case. They will take into account several factors:

  • the level of offense with which you are charged
  • your previous history with the court system
  • the level of trust that the judge has in you to return for your hearing

A set of guidelines is available to the judge to help determine the bail. These guidelines give a range of bail amounts for each particular offense. The judge could decide to waive bail if this is a minor offense and your first interaction with the judicial system. If you have a history of problems with the courts and this is a severe offense, the judge may set a high bail. If it is too high for you to pay, the bail bonds process can help.

Bail Bonds Services Post Your Bail When You Can't

This is a simple arrangement to help you post bail that is too high for you to cover out of your own pocket. You pay a fee to a bail bonds company like Pat's Bonding and they post bail for you. When you come back in for your hearing, the company gets their money back from the court. This, too, works on the honor principle, with you showing up for your hearing when required. If you don't, several things get put into motion.

When you fail to appear at your hearing, a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. Local law enforcement will try to find you. You'll be arrested and the bail bonds company loses the bail they posted for you. To protect their interests, the company has people trained to find you. If they bring you in before local law enforcement finds you, they get their bail money back. This makes the bail bonds companies highly motivated to find you first.

It's called jumping bail when you fail to appear for a hearing after posting bail. It gives you a black mark with the courts which can make judges set a much higher bail should you be charged with an offense in the future. It will also make bail bonds services reluctant to work with you again. If you enter into an agreement with a bail bonds company, make sure that you plan to follow through by showing up for your hearing.