What Can You Do If You Can't Afford Your Bail?

If you're ever arrested, you may need to produce bail in order to get out of jail in a timely manner. Bail is an amount of money that a person pays in order to be released from jail until their appearance in court. Bail is designed to be a kind of insurance. When the arrested person shows up for his or her court date, then the person who paid the bail will get the money back. If the person who was arrested fails to show up in court, then he or she will lose the money and will face another arrest. Knowing how the bail system works and what you can do if you can't afford bail can help you if you're ever arrested and stuck in jail.

What can you do if you can't afford your bail?

Bail is often set based on a standard fee schedule. In some states, people who can't afford bail can talk to their criminal defense attorney, who can ask for a bail hearing where a judge will lower the fee. In states where this is allowed, judges may lower bail fees on a case-by-case basis.

What if your state won't allow your bail to be lowered?

Even if your state doesn't allow for your bail to be lowered, you can still post bail by getting a bail bond. A bail bond is issued by a for-profit business. The bond will cost a certain percentage of the actual amount of the bail. This money is not refundable. In addition to the non-refundable fee, the bail bond company may ask the person requesting the bond to put up something valuable (like a car, jewelry, or a house) as collateral.

If the defendant fails to show up at court, the collateral will be seized and not returned. In most states, bail bond companies may also hire a bail enforcement agent (commonly known as a "bounty hunter") to find and retrieve a defendant who does not show up in court. When the person who skipped bail is found by the bounty hunter, he or she is brought back for a reward. That reward is shared between the bail bond company and the bounty hunter.

If you have been recently arrested and are seeking more information about bail, bail bonds and bounty hunters, contact a reputable criminal defense attorney in your area. Your criminal defense attorney like Damiani Gerard M can help answer your questions, advise you on the best ways to get out of jail and how to handle your case in court.