If a loved one has contacted you from jail and is unable to pay their own bail, you likely have numerous questions. What is a bail bond? How can I find bail bonds near me? What should I know before contacting a bondsman? What happens after the case is over? This series of posts will walk you through the basics of the bail bond process and shed some light on what you should expect.
In part one, we will cover the basic principles of bail.
What Is Bail?
If your loved one is calling you and asking you to procure a bail bond, it is likely because they are unable to produce money to pay regular bail. Bail is money paid to the court to ensure the defendant will return to court to finish the court process and allows the defendant to go free and avoid more time in jail while a court determines guilt. Typically, after an arrest the individual will be booked into jail, and either await a bail amount or a bail hearing with a judge in the case of more serious crimes.
How Is Bail Determined?
State bail schedules set the various bail amounts for different crimes, as well as dictate whether a defendant must wait for a bail hearing. Judges are allowed to increase or decrease the amount of bail on the bail schedule if the court agrees based on the defendant’s history, perceived risk of re-offending, flight risk, local ties, and other considerations. In short, if a judge believes the defendant has few ties to the area and is likely to leave without returning for a court date, the bail may be raised in an attempt to keep the defendant behind bars.
Bail can also be raised to protect the public from potential harm if the individual may pose a risk upon his or her release. Cases involving rape, murder, assault, battery or a number of violent crimes typically have larger bail amounts, or may be denied bail entirely. Similarly, repeat offenders that are thought to pose a risk to society if released may be subject to higher bail in order to avoid continued offenses while the individual awaits trial.
What Happens After Bail Is Determined?
After bail is set, if the defendant is not released on his own recognizance – or let go with a signed, sworn statement to reappear for court proceedings – he can post bail in a number of ways. The simplest is by cash or check, remitting the court for the amount in its entirety. If the defendant is later found not guilty, the amount is returned, less court fees. However, if the defendant is found guilty, it is likely that a large amount of the bail could be applied to fines and court fees.
Often, however, a defendant or their family are not able to pay bail in the full amount, which is where a bondsman steps in.
This ends the first in this month’s series on Minnesota Bail Basics. Next, find information about locating a Minnesota bail bonds company and what you should know before procuring a bail bond.
If you are in need of a bail bond, A-Affordable Bail Bonds is available 24/7. Call us at (877)-724-6520 or view our list of service providers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.