If you've been arrested and jailed, you may be experiencing a number of thoughts and emotions. While it's only natural to be angry and confused, your first priority should be getting yourself released from jail. Bail is the key to being released, so read on to learn more about bail and how to bail yourself out of jail.
What Can Bail Do for Me?
Once arrested, you will eventually have your day in court. Unfortunately, crowded court calendars can mean that your court dates may be months and months away. Bail allows those accused of crimes to remain free during the time between getting arrested and court. This means that defendants are free to spend time with their families, work at their jobs, and spend time with their criminal defense attorney working on their cases.
Some people are released from jail without having to post bail. If the offense is minor and you are a first-time offender, you could be released on your own recognizance. Though you don't need to come up with any money for this type of release, you must agree to follow certain conditions and to show up for your appointed court date.
Bailing Yourself Out of Jail
Bail is based on several factors such as the seriousness of the crime, your criminal record, and other demographics. In most cases, bail costs thousands of dollars. Bail can be paid by cash or by pledging property. For example, you may be able to submit a vehicle title or a real estate deed in lieu of cash. If you have the required amount of bail on hand or can prove to the judge that you have it, you might be able to gain a provisional release. This gives you time to appear with the needed bail. Most people do not have that much disposable cash or property at the ready, however.
Bonding Yourself Out of Jail
Bonds are an alternative to paying the full bail amount. Bail bonding agencies are not affiliated with the criminal justice system but work with the jails and those accused to gain them freedom. A bond is your promise to the bonding company that you will comply with all bail conditions including appearing in court. You can pay a bonding agent a mere percentage of the full bail amount and they will post your bail for you. For example, you might pay only 10% of the full bail amount to a bonding agency. In most cases, a loved one or friend makes the bonding arrangements, but you might be able to handle it from jail. In some cases, the bail bonds company will post bail when:
1. The bail amount is relatively low
2. You are a first-time offender
3. You have lived in the community for a long time and have community ties
4. You have a good credit score
5. You are a homeowner
6. You are employed
If you've found yourself behind bars, speak to your attorney and then follow up with a friendly bonding agent.