The Basics of Bail and Bail Bonds
The law is a complex system full of intricacies that only a select few are capable of understanding fully. As for the general public, there are multiple parts of the legal system that they know of, due to common knowledge.
One of these parts are bails, and in extension, bail bonds. Bail, it appears, is something most Americans are familiar with, regardless of their origins. The public’s knowledge of how bail works, for example, bail bonds service in Park City, is most notably a result of legal drama viewership. Often, characters speak of bail during pre-trial scenes.
However, as “familiar” as people are with the concept of bail, most only know about the basics. Bail amount is given by a judge, and the accused can post bail if they can afford it, so that they can live comfortably at home while waiting for trial. Here is a quick overview on how the bail system operates.
Upon being charged with a criminal offense, an individual is brought into the custody of the police. They are allowed to meet with their lawyer, who will also accompany them to the pre-trial bail meeting with a court-appointed judge.
The defendant will then meet with this judge in a bail hearing, along with the prosecutor, who will inform the court the full extent of what the accused is being charged with. Upon hearing the gravity of the crime, the judge will decide on a bail amount.
Sometimes, bail is denied or is set at a very high price if the crime the person is accused of is violent, like domestic terrorism. The bail amount for each crime is often set in each state. For example, non-violent and petty misdemeanors are set at $500 minimum.
If the accused is incapable of acquiring the amount required, the court then asks for a house title or something that is worth the value set.
Bails are used by the legal system to ensure that the accused will not be a flight risk come trial time. One posted, the court holds this amount and will constantly check if the accused attends all court dates, and abides with release conditions. Then, the court will later release the full amount when the case is over. The bail can be forfeited or revoked if the accused violates any condition or disappears altogether.
Very few of the accused population are capable of acquiring the money required by the court to be released. This is where individuals referred to as bail bondsmen come in. They reach an agreement with the accused that the accused pay 10% of the total amount upfront, while the company then approaches the court with the written agreement and pays the full amount. Oftentimes, there are additional charges to be paid with the full amount later on.
A bail bondsman may check the creditworthiness of their clients to check if there is any liability to be expected when representing them. Additionally, they may ask for collateral in the form of property values. This ranges from vehicles to jewelry.
A small number of people will get the opportunity to encounter these circumstances. However, having an inkling on how one part of the legal system works is essential as a sort of fail safe. Nonetheless, if one is accused of a crime, posting bail will be the least of their worries.