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How to Post Bail in Arkansas- 5 Things to Know

How to Post Bail in Arkansas: 5 Things to Know

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When a defendant is allowed to leave jail on his or her “own recognizance,” the release is a way to get out of jail before trial without posting bail. Under Arkansas law, there are a number of conditions that a judicial officer can impose on a defendant, if the court believes they are necessary. These include having a qualified person or group agree to supervise the defendant, placing the defendant under the supervision of a probation official, restricting the movements, activities and associations of the defendant, requiring the defendant to remain under home incarceration when not working and “any other reasonable restriction.” Here are five things to know if you need to post bail in Arkansas.

1.  Four Ways to Get Out of Jail

Own recognizance – Being released on OR is seen most often with misdemeanor offenses. It becomes less common once the crime is more serious. Judges are required to consider public safety and the likelihood the defendant will show up for all court hearings before granting an OR release, which involves no security.

Cash bond – Either the defendant or any adult 18 or older can post a cash bond. The bond must equal the entire amount of the bail. Cash bail is seen most often with less serious misdemeanors, when it is not unusual for the defendant or an indemnitor to the entire amount of a $500 or $1,000 bail in cash. Since the defendant pays the entire amount of the bail in cash, there is no additional charge, other than court fees and administrative charges.

Surety bond – While the focus of a surety bail contract is the bail bond agent, the defendant and the court, it is common for a guarantor to be involved as well. The guarantor can be a relative or friend who often will be asked to put up collateral to cover some or all of the 90 percent of the bail not paid by the defendant. For a $20,000 bail, the premium paid to the bail bond agent is 10 percent or $2,000. To cover the rest, the bail bond company will often hold jewelry or other property from the guarantor.

Property bond – In order to pay the 10 percent premium when bail is very expensive, the defendant or an indemnitor can turn over the title to property – often a house or tract of land. The owner of the property must have clear title and enough equity in the property to cover the cost of the bail. This type of bail is not frequently seen, and when used, takes the most time because of the paperwork involved, including a lien on the property on behalf of the court.

2.  How to Get Bail

In Arkansas, the process of posting bail is often initiated with a phone call from jail by the defendant – either to a family member or friend or to a bail bond agent. If the defendant has enough cash, it’s possible to be released from jail without any assistance. If not, a bail bond agent will interview the defendant or family member and the paperwork usually can be completed in two hours or less.

3.  What Will Bail Cost?

Under Arkansas law, bail bond agents are authorized to charge a premium of 10 percent of the value of bail. In addition to that premium, the state mandates $80 in fees for administrative costs and to help finance agencies such as the Public Defender’s Office. If bail is set at $50,000, the 10 percent premium is $5,000, along with $80 in bail-related fees.

4.  How Long Will I Stay in Jail?

There are a number of factors that play a role in how long it takes to get out of jail after an arrest. One is the seriousness of the offense. For most misdemeanors, there is an preset bail amount. In that case, it’s a matter of waiting to be processed and booked into the jail – that can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the time of day and how many people are ahead of you. Once a bail bond agent has been contacted, the process of getting the information from you and getting the forms together doesn’t take that long. The overnight waits – or longer – generally happen when the offense is a more serious felony and when the arrest occurs late at night or on the weekend.

5.  What if I Miss a Court Appearance?

If you posted a cash bail, the court will keep the entire amount. If you arranged for a surety bond, the bail bond agent will keep any collateral that may have been put up to guarantee the bail and seek the rest from you. As soon as you miss a court appearance, a bench warrant for your arrest will be issued on two charges – the original offense and failure to appear in court. The bail bond company may use a bounty hunter to search for you and bring you back to court.

This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should consult an attorney.


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