Once a defendant has been arrested, a bail hearing will occur shortly after the arrest. At the hearing the judge will decide whether or not to set a bail at all – and the defendant will need to fulfill bail requirements to prove they are not a flight risk. If a bail has been issued, the defendant will need to follow legal requirements which are available for posting bail.
Bail Requirements to Receive Bail
Bail requirements which are needed at a bail hearing to prove to the judge that the defendant is not a flight risk may include:
- Statements of character provided by friends, family members, teachers, employers or church officials.
- Evidence that supports the defendant’s commitment towards staying in the community including school records, work history records, and evidence of parental obligations or home ownership.
- A defendant is also expected to conduct him- or herself with a respectful manner towards the court during all court appearances. Any disrespectful behaviors, especially any actions that result in contempt of court during the bail hearing, may cause the judge to refuse bail.
While a defendant is not required to attend the bail hearing with a lawyer, most legal advisers recommend the presence of a public or private lawyer at a bail hearing; a lawyer will plead for bail and may argue to reduce any bail amount which is recommended by the prosecution.
Bail Requirements for Posting Bail
Once a judge has issued the amount of bail for the defendant’s release, the defendant can choose what method he or she will use to meet the bail requirements. Most defendants choose a bail bond company to guarantee their bail amount, but other defendants may pay the entire bail fee, or arrange for a property bond.
- If a defendant uses a bail bond company to post bail, the requirement for bail usually includes paying approximately 10 percent of the total bail amount and providing sources of collateral for the remainder of the bail, which will be collected if the defendant flees.
- A defendants who chooses to pay the entire bail amount only need to pay the court, and then he or she is free to leave. Once he or she attends his or her hearing, he or she will receive the full refund of his or her bail, regardless of whether he or she is found guilty or innocent.
- To post bail with a property bond, the defendant will need to prove the value of the property they own is worth the value of the bail. This type of bond usually requires the services of an attorney to file all of the necessary paperwork needed before the bond is issued.
Regardless of the type of method a defendant uses to post bail, he or she must attend his or her future court hearing – if the defendant does not attend the scheduled court hearing the entire amount of the bail is due immediately, any possibility of a refund is forfeit, and an arrest warrant is issued.
*The information in this article does not constitute legal advice. Please contact a legal professional in your local area for the best up-to-date and accurate legal advice.