When you find yourself facing criminal charges of any kind, the first thing you are probably focused on is getting released from jail. You can work with a bail bondsman to secure your release, but only after bail has been set by the court. Before you inadvertently make mistakes in the process, here are some things you need to know about bail and a bail bonds release.
Bail Amounts Aren't Set in Stone
Even if you know someone who was arrested on the same charge, you cannot assume that your bail will be set at the same amount that theirs was. That's because there are a lot of factors that can affect the amount of bail.
The judge will have a scale that they must work from, however, he or she can assign any bail amount within that range. Many things affect that decision, including the severity of the crime, any complicating factors that may be involved (such as bystander injuries), your criminal history, and more.
Further, even when your bail amount is issued, that doesn't necessarily mean that's what you'll have to pay. If the judge orders a bail amount that you and your attorney feel is unreasonable, you do have the opportunity to appeal that amount. You may find yourself still in jail until that appeal is heard, but you have that option.
Bail Premiums Are Regulated by Law
When you visit a bail bondsman, he or she will charge a premium that you must pay up front. That premium is the bondsman's fee for bailing you out of jail. While the actual premium can vary sometimes, there is some degree of legal regulation associated.
Most states restrict bail premiums to between five and fifteen percent of the actual bail amount. Many bond agents will charge ten percent, so this is what most people anticipate. However, your bondsman may charge the highest allowable premium for more severe charges, such as felonies and violent crimes.
You Can Secure Your Bail Bond in Many Ways
If you had the cash to pay your bail amount in full, you wouldn't need a bondsman. However, even a bondsman is going to require some form of security on your bail in case you flee and they are held liable.
You can secure that bond in many ways. The goal is to offer collateral that meets the bond value. You can use things such as jewelry, easy-liquidation investment certificates, home deeds, or vehicle titles to secure your bond release. Talk with the bail bonds agent to find out what types of collateral they accept.