When an individual is arrested and is being detained on criminal charges, a judge will make a ruling regarding bail.
The Preliminary Bail Hearing
After an arrest, a judge will hold a preliminary bail hearing, also known as an arraignment. This typically happens within a few days of arrest. At that time, the presiding judge will either deny bail or set an amount based upon several factors. In general, bail is set higher for more serious or violent offenses, for defendants who are considered to be at high risk of fleeing, and for those who might pose a danger to the community.
When bail is paid, either to the court directly, or through bail bonds Allentown PA, the defendant can be released to the community with the agreement that he or she will return as ordered for upcoming court dates.
Any individual can either contact a lawyer or the jail where a defendant is being held to inquire as to whether bail has been set yet, as well as the amount.
Paying Bail to the Court
The most direct way to bail a person out is to pay the total amount of the bail, in cash, to the court. The money serves as a guarantee that the defendant will fulfill the requirements of bail and will be retained until the close of his or her legal proceedings.
Some courts will accept a limited range of real property, such as land or buildings, as collateral in lieu of cash.
However, because bail amounts can go as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars, many defendants will have to find another way to bail out.
Bail Bondsman Services
When a defendant is unable to secure the entire amount of bail, he may turn to a bail bondsman to help. Bail bondsman, also called bail agents, are licensed professionals who provide financial services to assist defendants.
They do this by offering bail bonds, a type of surety bond that is issued to the court as insurance that the defendant will show back up at court. Bail agents provide these bonds for a fee, usually about 10% of the total bail amount. The defendant must provide some type of collateral to make up for the rest of the bail. Some bail agents offer additional types of payment plans.
When the defendant returns for his court date, bail will be returned to either the defendant (if paid in cash) or the bail agent (if paid with a bail bond.) At that time, the defendant will get back any cash or collateral that was used for that purpose.