When many people think of prisoners, they think of convicts. But more than 60 percent of America’s jail population consists of unconvicted people. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are stuck in prison because they cannot get bail.
Bail bonds can help. Individuals can leave prison and live happy lives before they receive a trial.
Yet, one reason why few people get bail is that they don’t know what bail is. They have substantial questions.
How do bail bonds work? Who exactly is a bail bondsperson, and what do they do?
Answer these questions, and you can get your loved one free today. Here is your quick guide.
What Is the Bail Process?
The bail process begins after a person is charged with a crime. They are sent to jail, but they attend a court hearing before their trial begins. The judge examines the circumstances of the case and determines an amount for bail.
The person in jail can pay this amount of money to the court. The court then takes their money and allows the individual to leave prison.
Most judges follow a bail schedule, which is a set amount of bail for certain offenses. In the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, a non-violent first-degree felony is set at 15,000 dollars. A judge may set a smaller bail if they feel that is too excessive.
An individual may appeal the judge’s bail decision. Some states have an appeal process for bail, while others allow an individual to file a writ of habeas corpus. If denied again, the individual will remain in jail.
If the individual follows the conditions of their bail, the court returns their money to them. Their trial then proceeds.
There is no difference between a trial for an individual who was granted bail and one for an individual who wasn’t. Prosecutors do not use a denial of bail as a piece of evidence in the trial.
If a judge believes an individual is a flight risk, they will not provide bail. The individual will remain in jail until their trial starts.
What Are Bail Bonds and Bail Bondspeople?
Bail bonds are the payments that individuals give to the court to go out on bail. Bail bondsmen cosign the bonds. They write statements to the court offering to pay the full bail if the defendant fails to appear for trial.
An individual can pay their bond themselves. They can also use their family or friends’ money or raise money in their community. Some jurisdictions allow a defendant to offer property instead of money.
A bondsperson can be anyone, though courts prefer a bondsperson who has good credit and no criminal record. The bondsperson may charge for their services, usually 10 percent of the bail amount up front.
How Do Bail Bond Companies Work?
Bail bond companies can offer several different services. They can offer loans to cover someone’s bond. Once out of prison, the individual works to pay the loan back.
Companies provide a range of payment options. Many accept cash or credit cards, and some accept collateral. Companies are flexible, offering bond services to people with weak credit and without interest.
If a defendant does not appear for trial, the company is obliged to track them down. They can investigate where the defendant has gone and detained them. Many companies have connections to law enforcement officials in multiple states to work across state lines to find someone.
Bail bond companies know about bail law so that a defendant can ask them questions about the bail process. Many bondsmen have a legal background, but they are not lawyers. A defendant should turn to their legal team if they need something done before trial.
What Is Being Out on Bail Like?
Being bailed out of jail is not being free. Judges impose a series of conditions that a defendant must follow. Every set of conditions is different, but some apply to nearly all cases.
The defendant must check in with pretrial services officers. These officers monitor defendants and make sure they have not fled.
The defendant cannot leave the area unless they are allowed to. They must have good reason to leave, such as work obligations. If they must leave to attend to a sudden emergency, they must notify the court in advance.
Stalking and domestic violence cases involve no-contact orders. The defendant cannot contact individuals alleging charges against them. This includes electronic communications.
Violating these conditions can result in the defendant being returned to prison. They may forfeit their bail, even if they have a bail bond company paying for them. The company can withdraw its services as well.
But a defendant can live their life while following conditions of bail. They can go to work, attend to their family, and hang out with their friends. They can remain in touch with their legal team and help shape their defense before trial.
How Do Bail Bonds Work? Get Expert Advice
Going to prison is a confusing process. Many people have questions, especially as they encounter bail.
What is bail? It allows you to pay money to a court in exchange for freedom before your trial. You must follow conditions, but you can work and interact with your family.
How do bail bonds work? You can pay bail yourself to a court. You can also get a bail bonds service to pay for you, which you pay them for.
If you still have questions, turn to an expert. Altman Bail Bonds is Tavares’s leading bail bonds service.