Busted: When You Need To Post Bail And How You Can Get Your Money Back

Posted on: 14 November 2014

If you are were arrested, you may need to post bail to get out of jail before arraignment or after. If it is for a serious crime or you have a record, you will need to post bail to get out before you are scheduled to go to court. There are several things you should know about this process to save yourself money and time.

Before or During Your First Court Appearance  

Arraignment is the first court appearance you will make and this will take place soon after being arrested. When you see the judge, he/she may allow you be released on your own recognizance (or OR'd in legal slang). This means you will need to sign a statement promising you will come to your court dates and not skip town. So if you can sit in jail for a night or part of a day, you may not need to worry about bail at all. To be OR'd you will need to meet some or all of these qualifications:

  • Your offense was a minor one.

  • You don't have a big criminal history.

  • You have ties to the community.

  • You have always been compliant in the past, if you do have a criminal history.

If you don't want to wait for arraignment, you may pay a set amount according to your locality's fee schedule. You may want to do this if you want to go hire a lawyer as soon as possible or you have a health condition, etc.

During your arraignment, the judge may set a new bail amount according to the charge(s) and other factors. It is possible for you to request a lowered amount, and if you can convince the judge that your intentions are good, it may be granted.

After Arraignment

The judge may set an exceedingly high bail if the charge against you is very serious and the court believes you are a flight risk or a danger to society, and doesn't want you out on the loose to possibly commit another heinous crime. Otherwise, it is considered unconstitutional to set bail so high, you could not possibly afford to pay it or be able to get a bail bond.

If you can pay the entire bail yourself, after you have been to all your court hearings and complied with everything, you will get most of it back. On the other hand, getting a bond will end up costing you more. Bonding is when you pay 10% of the bail amount to a bondsman to secure your release, and it is non-refundable. If the bail is a very large amount, collateral may be required and forfeited if you don't comply with coming to the court dates.

To Get Your Money Back

It should be clear now that you need to go to all your court dates until the conclusion of your case or trial. You should also comply with any other conditions of being released. If, for any reason, you will need to miss a court date, you should contact the court clerk and arrange to get the date changed. If you have an attorney, he or she may be able to show up for you and request a continuance (a new court date).

If you are running late, don't skip an appearance. When you get to the courtroom, give your name to the bailiff. You might get lucky and the court cases may be going slow that day.

If there was an emergency and you couldn't make it at all, do contact the court clerk right away. Not only do you want to save your bail money, you also want to avoid getting arrested again for failure to appear. For more information, get in touch with a professional like one from Balduf William Law Office.