What Is Cash Bail & How Does It Work?

Did you know that more than 70% of the U.S. jail population is made up of pretrial detainees, many of whom are only in jail because they can’t afford to pay bail?

When a person is arrested for a crime, authorities keep them in custody unless they are confident they will appear in court for all required hearings and trial. If the person accused of a crime proves they aren’t a flight risk, then the court might release them on their own recognizance.

If the court decides the defendant should not be released on their own recognizance, then the defendant will have to pay bail. Cash bail is used by courts to ensure a defendant will return for a trial or hearings after they are released. After the defendant attends all of their required court appearances, the bail money will be returned. If the defendant doesn’t show up for their court appearances, then the bail is forfeited to the government.

In some cases, usually due to the severity of the crime and whether the court doubts the defendant will show up for a trial, an expensive amount will be set for bail. Although a standard bail amount is designated for each alleged offense, judges typically have broad discretion to raise or lower the amount you have to pay for your release. Judges can also choose to waive bail entirely and release a defendant on their own recognizance.

What If I Can’t Afford to Pay Bail?

When people can’t afford to pay the court-determined bail amount, they usually turn to a private bail bond company. Bail bond companies agree to be responsible for the defendant’s bail obligation in exchange for a nonrefundable fee. This is fee is referred to as a “bond premium” and generally costs 10% to 15% of the bail amount. The rest of the fee is secured through collateral, so if the defendant skips-out on their court appearance and the bond company has to pay the penalty, then the company will simply use the collateral to recoup the full bail amount.

Call Our Firm If You’ve Been Accused of Crime

No matter what crime you have been accused of, Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is here to make sure you receive the experienced legal representation and guidance you need to protect your rights. We understand that your future may be at stake, and if convicted, you can face serious penalties. That is why you need to consult with a seasoned lawyer at our firm as soon as possible to get started devising a strong legal strategy to prove your case.

To set up a free case review with Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, please call us today at (800) 462-7160.