Getting arrested is something most of us would probably rather not think about. But if you or a loved one end up on the wrong side of the jail walls, it’s good to understand how bail works.
Bail is a mechanism which allows a person in custody to be released after a sum of money known as a bond is deposited with the court to be held as collateral.
If the person continues to return to court and comply with the court’s orders, the bail money will eventually be returned to the person. However, if they fail to appear in court or comply with court orders, the money will be forfeit to the court.
The Process Of Posting Bail
After a person is arrested, they are taken to holding within a jail until they can face a judge. The judge may then set a price for the individual’s bail. Bail amounts are often determined by the severity of the crime and the perceived risk of the individual fleeing or violating court orders.
The individual will typically be allowed to make phone calls to coordinate their bail. They will need to supply necessary (such as the amount of the bail and what jurisdiction they are being held in) information to an attorney, family member, spouse, friend, or loved one who can either post their bail or contact a bail bond agency.
What’s Involved In Posting Bail
Because bail amounts can often be quite large, many people seek out help from a bail bond agency to post bail.
These are insurance agencies which assume the risk of paying the bail. A bail bond agency will usually post bail for a fee of 10% of the bail amount, plus some form of collateral to guarantee the loan until the court case is resolved.
For example, if bail was set at $10,000, a bond agency may accept a $1,000 payment plus collateral such as the title of a vehicle as collateral.
Since a bond agency typically asks for only 10%, it is much more practical for people who do not have large amounts of cash on hand. However, if you do have the funds to pay upfront, you can pay the bail bond in cash and avoid working with a bail bond agency. Your money will then be held by the court for the duration of the trial.
What Happens After Bail Is Granted
After posting bond, the individual will be released from jail with a court date and a set of court orders.
The individual must comply with these orders and attend all subsequent court dates.
Failure to appear or comply will result in the bail being revoked and a warrant issued for the individual’s arrest.
This means the court will seize the full amount of the bail. If the bail was paid in cash, that money now belongs to the court. If you utilize a bail bond agency, they will be seizing the collateral you offered on the bond and possibly pursuing you for the remaining balance of the debt.
However, if the individual complies with all court orders and appears at all court dates, the bail money will be refunded in full after the completion of the trial.
Posting Bail in Florida FAQs
1. How long do you stay in jail if you can’t pay bail?
If you can’t post bail, you will be held in jail until your trial and sentencing. How long this takes will vary based on your location and the current volume of demand on the court system.
2. How long is your first court date after posting bail?
Your court date will be assigned based on the court’s calendar. It can vary widely based on the amount of demand on the court system. It can often be weeks or months after being released on bail.
3. How long does it take a judge to set bail?
Most people will get a bail hearing within forty eight hours of their arrest.