When a family member is arrested and a bail amount is set, you may be concerned about the steps you'll need to take on your loved one's behalf. The bail bonds system allows a defendant to be released from custody until the court hearing. To ensure that a person can go home, a judge may require that a certain amount of money is paid first. However, if you are unable to cover that cost, then you can ask a bail bonds service to make the payment for you and post a surety bond. Here are some details about how bail bonds work from the beginning of the process to the end.
Step 1: The bail amount is determined by the court.
Following the initial arrest and booking into jail, your loved one will make a first appearance in court. The presiding judge will then announce a monetary number (or bail) that must be received by the court in order for your loved one to avoid spending time behind bars while awaiting trial. This bail amount is dependent on various factors, including your family member's criminal history, the severity of the crime itself, and the likelihood that the evidence could lead to a conviction in the case. The bail amount could be quite substantial if there are any indicators that a person might be a flight risk, as the judge will not want to release someone who won't return for the court hearing.
Step 2: The bail bonds company posts the bond, and your loved one can go home pending a trial date.
If the bail amount is too steep for you to manage on your own, you'll need to work with a bail bonds company to handle the payment. The bail bonds service will take care of paying the cost, with the condition that your loved one must appear at all future court dates as promised. You'll need to offer some collateral to guarantee that your family member will satisfy the requirements of the bond. This collateral could be your house, car, or antique collectibles. Any items of value that you own can be used to secure the bail amount. You will also pay an extra fee (a percentage of the total bail amount) directly to the bail bonds company. Once the bond has posted with the court, your loved one will be released from jail.
Step 3: After the conclusion of the court hearing, the bond collateral will either be returned to you, or further compensation will be collected.
The final step in the process is the completion of the court hearings. If your family member shows up to the court proceedings as necessary, then your collateral will be given back to you without issue at the end of the trial. If your loved one does not appear at the hearings, then the bond becomes null and void. You will need to pay the full cost of the bail by yourself, which could mean putting up a great deal of cash or forfeiting your collateral. Be sure to ask the bail bonds company what the repercussions are and what the grace period is for repayment if your loved one fails to attend their court dates.
Knowing what to do after an arrest can mean the difference between your loved one being released from custody or remaining in jail until their day in court. If your family member needs to post bond while awaiting a hearing, contact a bail bonds service in your area for help.