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The Cash Bail Bond Process

Bail Bonds
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If you are arrested and bail is set, cash bail is one of the five different ways you can get released from jail. The amount of bail is decided on by a judge depending on the seriousness of the crime involved, the circumstances of your case and your criminal history, if any.

Who Can Post a Cash Bail Bond?

The defendant can post bail if he or she has the money available. Any other person, related or not to the defendant, also can post bond as long as they are 18 years or older.

What's Involved with the Cash Bail Bond Process?

The first thing that must happen is that two different ways to get released from custody must not occur. In some cases relatively minor cases, usually involving misdemeanor crimes, the defendant is issued a ticket and never taken directly to jail. The defendant signs the ticket, thereby agreeing to show up for any and all court appearances in connection with the arrest. There is no bail set if a defendant is issued a citation. Also, if a judge allows a defendant to be released on his or her own recognizance, often called ROR, no bail is set. An ROR is generally used in cases that do not involve physical violence, such as property crimes. In many jurisdictions where jail overcrowding is an issue, judges regularly release the least violent criminals because of space restrictions.

Posting a Cash Bail Bond

  • Bail is determined. The first step is for a judge to set the bail amount. Once this is determined, the defendant has the opportunity to pay the bail in a number of ways.
  • Cash paid for entire bail. The defendant, or a relative or friend, can post the entire amount of the bail in cash. Because a bail bond company is not involved, the entire bail must be paid.
  • Bail returned at conclusion of case. The defendant, or whoever posted the cash bail, can get the money back at the conclusion of the case. Often, this takes three to six months, even in fairly simple criminal matters.
  • Bail may be withheld if defendant is guilty. Many states have laws that allow local courts to keep cash bail payments and use that money for the operation of the court system if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty.
  • Bail retained if defendants 'skips'. If the defendant does not show up for a court hearing or the trial in the case, the entire bail amount is forfeited to the court.

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