If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, you may not have to stay in jail while waiting for your trial. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be able to secure your release through bail, a bond or being released on your own recognizance.
Understanding the ins and outs of each option to get you out of jail may help you navigate this process more effectively.
Bail is the money that you pay to guarantee that you’ll appear at all your scheduled court dates. The amount of bail set by the court can vary widely, depending on factors such as the nature and severity of the charges, your criminal history and your ties to the community. If you attend all court dates, the bail money will be returned to you. If you fail to appear, you’ll lose the money, and the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
You can potentially “bond out” of jail if you can’t afford bail. This typically involves hiring a bail bond agent or agency that will post bail on your behalf for a fee, usually around 10% of the bail amount. This fee is non-refundable, even if you appear at all court dates. If you fail to appear in court, the bondsman can be held liable for the entire bail amount and may employ a bounty hunter to find and return you to custody.
Being released on your own recognizance
In some cases, you could be released on your recognizance, which means that you’ll be released from jail without paying bail, based on a promise to return for all court proceedings. This is more likely to occur if you’re charged with a minor, non-violent crime, have a clean criminal record and have strong ties to the community. To increase the chance of this kind of release, you must demonstrate to the court that you are a low-flight risk and not a danger to the community.
Regardless of how you’re released from jail, you must start working on your defense immediately. Seeking legal guidance promptly can help to better ensure that your rights remain protected and that your interests are safeguarded as your case unfolds.