Getting Out Of Jail When You Can't Post Bail
If you've been arrested and charged with an offense that has a bail associated with it, a judge will set an amount based on guidelines the court uses. If you don't have the cash to post the bail, you'll be stuck in jail until your hearing date. Another option you have is to use a bail bonds company. For less than you would spend to post bail, you can get out of jail and wait at home for your hearing. Here is how the bail bonds process works for you, and your responsibilities when you use this service.
Bail Bonds Help When You Don't Have the Money to Post Bail
Bail bonds companies were established to help people get out of jail when their bail was set higher than they could afford. Or you may not have access to enough money soon enough to post bail. For a fee, the bail bonds company will help you get out of jail.
The process is simple:
- The judge sets your bail based on the level of the offense and guidelines used by the court.
- You contact one of the bail bonds company that work in your community.
- You pay a fee to the bond service which is a smaller percentage of the bail.
- The bail bonds company posts the bail for you and you go home.
When you come back for your hearing, the bail bonds company gets their money back from the court. Your obligation is to show up for the hearing.
What Happens If You Miss Your Hearing
The process works smoothly if you show up for your hearing. If you don't, for whatever reason, a number of actions take place that you would rather not happen.
The judge issues a warrant for your arrest. Called a "bench warrant", this authorizes local law enforcement, typically the sheriff's department, to locate and arrest you. Once you are brought in, you'll be held without any chance of getting bail again. Any bail you did post will be forfeited to the court.
If you used a bail bonds company and the sheriff's office brings you in, the company loses all of the money they posted for you. This motivates the bail bonds service to find you first and bring you back to the court.
Bails Bonds companies use investigators skilled in finding people. Their goal is to find you before the sheriff's department so they get their bail money back.
Once you're brought back to the court, your records will show that you missed your hearing. If you're ever picked up and charged with an offense again, the judge will see that you skipped out on your bail before. They will set your bail amount higher, or may not grant you bail at all. You'll also have a difficult time finding a bail bonds company that will work with you.
If you use a bail bonds company, make sure that you understand your full obligations. If you have any thoughts of missing your hearing, talk with your lawyer about your concerns and let them interceded with the court for you.