Bail Bond Advantages and Disadvantages
Mistakes can happen in life. When you have been arrested, you want to get out of jail as soon as possible. A bail bond can expedite your release from custody.
What Is a Bail Bond?
Bail is a cash bond that allows the arrested person to leave jail. However, there are a few stipulations that the person must follow. In exchange for their freedom, the detained person must appear in court.
Bail is a conditional release. The defendant must attend all court hearings and other related legal matters. If the person doesn’t show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The bail is also forfeited to the court. With that, the defendant is charged with failure to appear in court.
Who Sets Bail?
A judge is responsible for setting the defendant’s bail. In many cases, the judge follows a standard bail schedule that specifies the bail amount for a particular crime.
There are times when the suspect cannot afford the bail. The defendant can ask the judge to lower the amount during the arraignment.
Remember that there are limits on the bail. According to the U.S. Constitution, bail cannot be excessive. Bail allows the arrested individual to remain free until the scheduled court date. In some situations, the judge will set a high bail in cases where the suspect is a danger to the community. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this type of bail is not unconstitutional according to United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987).
Using a Bail Bond
Now that you know the basics of a bail bond, you may be wondering how it works. Bail can be paid in several ways, including paying the total amount of the bail, purchasing a bond from a bail bond seller, or depositing property with the court that is worth the amount of the bond.
A bond requires you to pay a certain percentage of the total amount of bail. When you pay in cash, you must pay for the full amount of the bond. There are a few drawbacks to paying in cash. A cash bond is a considerable expense, and it can be challenging for many to come up with a large amount of cash on short notice, after banks are closed, or on the weekend.
For most defendants, the bail bond is the most attractive option. An individual only needs to post about 10% of the total bail amount. However, if the defendant wants this option, a bail bond agent must be contacted. The bail bond agent will pay for the rest of the bond on the person’s behalf.
Keep in mind that these bail bond agencies will charge a commission and fees in addition to the cost of the bond. Once you have a bail bond, you must appear in court on all of the scheduled dates.
The Pros of Bail Bonds
If you need to get out of jail as soon as possible, you may be considering hiring a bail bond company. These bonds are helpful for those who don’t have enough cash to pay the full amount of the bail. In many situations, you can find several bail bond companies with offices near jails, courthouses, and police stations. Many of them are open 24/7. With those hours, you can guarantee to get a bond when you need it.
These bail bond agents will work to get you released from jail. No matter the hour, the bail bond company begins the process to secure your discharge. All of the paperwork is completed for you. Bail bondsmen know how the process works in your jurisdiction, so they will easily fill out the correct documents for a seamless and quick transaction.
However, always make sure that you choose a reputable company for your bond. Some of these professional firms will give you a little leeway in the approval process, which gets you out of custody even sooner. While some agents have a bad reputation, most bail bond companies maintain a trustworthy status in the community.
Some companies can take advantage of the defendant by soliciting more money. Be careful of these unscrupulous companies. If you want to work with a bail bond company, make sure that the agents are licensed.
Along with paying for the bond, the defendant might also want to find a reputable criminal defense attorney to help them fight their charges. Your Morristown criminal defense lawyer will possibly coordinate with the bail bond agency to discuss your release and to be sure that everyone is kept abreast of future court dates.
The individual only needs to pay a percentage of the bail amount with the bail bond. That can be a win-win for the defendant as they will be released from jail and don’t have to worry about paying a large amount of cash.
Paying for a bail bond is not easy for many people. In some cases, the bail bond company will offer payment plans for the defendant. That can help some people out of a tight financial obligation. Keep in mind that not all bail bond agencies offer these payment plans.
If the bail bond requires a high amount of cash, the defendant can use a high-value asset, like a car or other property, as collateral. These bail bond agencies will also offer discounts for service members, union employees, and retired individuals.
Bail Bond Cons
While using a bail bond does sound appealing, there are some drawbacks, especially when working with a bail bond agency. Remember that bail bond fees are never refundable. You cannot recoup those costs once you hand over the 10% of the bail amount to the agent. Think of these bonds as a fee for your freedom.
You will work through a third party when using a bail bond agency. With that, you will have to share personal information with the agent. While these companies protect your privacy and confidentiality, there are no guarantees that private details will not leak out from the agency.
Finally, the bail bond agent is an employee of the company. Don’t think that you have a personal relationship with the agent. Getting you to court is their primary goal. The bail bond agency assures the court that you will appear for any legal hearings.
If you jump bail, the agency will hire a recovery agent to search for you. When you are found, they will turn you over to law enforcement. The bail bond company doesn’t want to forfeit its money. When you don’t show up to court and cannot be located, the agency has to pay the full amount of the bail.
Make the Right Decision for You
It can be a challenging decision whether to pay by cash or bail bond. Whatever option you choose, make sure to have a Morristown criminal defense lawyer ready to represent you in court. With a little experienced help, you can understand the advantages and disadvantages of a bail bond. Gregg Wisotsky serves the New Jersey area. If you need to schedule a consultation, call his Morristown office at 973-898-0161 or visit the website.