After an individual is arrested, a judge will determine the accused person's bail amount. The accused must pay the bail to secure their release from jail; the bail amount is returned after the accused appears in court.
Bail is not intended to punish the accused. Its primary goal is to make sure the accused doesn't skip their court appearances. Depending on the specifics of their arrest, an accused person may find themselves facing a high bail amount that they can't afford to pay. Here's what you should do if you're dealing with a lofty bail figure.
Ask for the Reasoning Behind the Bail Amount
There are a few reasons why the judge might issue a high bail amount. High bail is more common in cases where serious crimes are involved. If the accused is thought to be a risk to the community or is likely to flee and skip their court date, the judge may issue a high bail amount that reflects these risks.
Once you know why the bail amount is expensive, you can determine your next steps.
See If It's Possible to Have the Bail Reduced
Once you know why the bail is so high, you can see if there's anything you can do to have the bail lowered. For example, if your bail is high due to the fact that you previously missed a court date, you might offer an explanation for the missed court appearance.
Or, you could try to make a case for why you're unlikely to flee this time (such as familial responsibilities or steady employment). A judge may be more likely to lower your bail if you agree to certain conditions that help demonstrate that you aren't a risk to the community or likely to flee.
You might agree to wear a monitoring device that ensures you're following any restrictions associated with your bail. Or, you may agree to submit to regular check-ins with the court or periodic drug tests.
Determine If You Should Take Out a Bail Bond
If you can't get the bail amount reduced or if it's still too expensive, another alternative to explore is using a bail bond. A bail bond allows you to only pay a small amount (often 10 percent) of the bail amount instead of the whole thing. In this case, when facing a bail of $20,000, you would only have to pay $2,000.
In situations where 10 percent of the bail is still a stretch for your budget, your bail bond company may allow you to make payments on the amount owed. The percentage of the bail amount that you pay won't be returned; instead, it will serve as your fee for using the bail bond.
To learn more about bail bonds, contact a bail bond company.