How does Bail work? By Daniel Smith

bigstock-Lawyers-3864When someone gets arrested, one of the first questions they usually have is about bail. Bail is set to help ensure that the person will show up to court when they are supposed to. If you don't, you lose the bail money.

When someone is taken into custody and booked into county jail, one of three things will happen. For a minor offense, they may be released upon their promise to appear in Court for an arraignment date. If they have a warrant out for their arrest, are not a citizen or legal resident or are on parole or probation, they may be held without bail, meaning they cannot bail out.

For all other cases, bail is set. What that means is that the Courts have a bail schedule, a list of how much bail should be based on the charges you were arrested for. The amount depends on the seriousness of the charge and your prior record if any. For example, for a first time DUI, bail is usually $2500. For serious felonies, bail can be in the hundreds of thousands if not more.

You can bail out one of two ways. If you have the money, you can pay the entire bail amount. When your case is completed, you will get all of it back, or you can use it to pay any fines owed. .Most people do not have the entire amount of bail available to them. So, they go to a bail bondsman. Generally, you pay 10% of the bail amount to the bail bondsman who then promises to pay the entire amount if you do not show up for court. YOU DO NOT GET THIS 10% BACK WHEN YOUR CASE IS DONE. This is the cost to you for having the bail bondsman assume the risk of you not showing up. Some bail bondsmen have reduced amounts less than the 10%.

If you have a loved one currently in jail, please contact our office at (619)258-8888 for a free consultation regarding their case.