Every year in the United States, more than 10 million arrests are made.
Getting arrested, for whatever reason, is always a difficult experience. Maybe you’re looking at some serious time, or you just got wrapped up in an unusual situation and would like to get out of jail as soon as possible.
In any case, posting bail is essential to get out of jail as soon as possible and reunite with your family. You have a few options for posting bail, and we’re going to help you work through a few of them in this article.
Hopefully, this article can help you understand your options if you’re ever in a situation where you need to figure out how to post bail. Let’s get started.
How to Post Bail: Understanding the Options
It’s important to understand why bail exists, whether or not you’ll get it back, and how to conceptualize the amounts you’re expected to pay.
The bottom line of bail is that it’s a deposit or form of collateral that ensures a person will continue to visit court at their established hearing times. When you’re sitting in jail, you don’t have any option but to visit court at the established times because you’re under the supervision of the state.
They’ll shuttle you to and from your appointed hearings whenever they occur. That said, the Federal government understands that it’s not always necessary for someone to sit in jail while they wait for their court dates.
In most cases, people can get out of jail to await their hearing with their friends and family. Certain instances warrant the court to decide that the person should stay in jail the entire time.
If the person is a threat to the public, for example, they will be kept in jail while they await trial. You wouldn’t want a serial killer walking around waiting for their hearing, for example.
Where Bail Comes In
A preliminary hearing allows the court to set a specific bail amount for your situation. Bail is the amount of money you have to pay to get out and walk freely before you sit trial.
There are a lot of offenses that come along with a pre-set bail amount, but there are unique situations where bail might be higher or lower. You can’t know until your bail is set and the judge has looked at your specific set of circumstances.
Once you have a way to pay that bail, you can leave jail and go about your business until it’s time to come back to court.
It’s also important to understand that you will get that money back if you complete the court process without missing or interfering with the normal processes.
In this way, it’s a lot like a piece of collateral. The state holds your money to ensure that you have an incentive to attend court and go through the entire process. If you were let out, there would be very little preventing you from fleeing and avoiding the process.
Exploring Your Options
Not everyone has the amount of money needed to post bail when they’re picked up by police.
In some cases, the offense might be very severe and warrant a bail bond higher than they would ever be able to pay. This is often the case when bail is set very high.
The court might be required to set a bail amount but know that they shouldn’t let the defendant out of custody, so they set an exorbitant bail that won’t be paid. That said, there are some ways that an individual can acquire the necessary money to get out of jail.
Let’s explore some of those options so that you can brainstorm ideas if you’re ever in the position to need bail money.
1. Paying in Cash
This is a difficult one to do for a lot of people, but it never hurts to see if it’s an option for you.
Depending on your circumstances or bills, you might have to save some money in your account to manage your life outside of jail. That said, note that the money will come back to you if you managed to attend all court dates and fulfill your obligations while you’re undergoing trial.
In this sense, you can post bail if you have the necessary funds, and doing so won’t derail your life entirely. For example, let’s say that your bail is $6,000 and that’s the exact amount of money you have in your bank account.
You have rent, car payments, insurance payments, and a few other odds and ends to pay for.
If you’d rather be broke and out of jail than be in jail and flush with cash, you just have to ride out the period of your trial with very little money. It’s not always the most enjoyable thing to do, but it’s possible.
You’ll get the cashback as soon as you’re able and you can move on with your life.
2. Bail Bonds
Bail bonds are loans that you get in the exact amount of your bail. The United States allows bail bonds to be used as a legitimate way to meet the cost of bail.
You can contact a bail bondsman and discuss their rates, interest, and whether or not there are any costs upfront. Getting a bail bond can be a great way to get out without expending a significant amount of your current wealth.
You’ll be expected to pay that amount in full, but you can do it over time with a payment plan that fits your lifestyle. If you’re short on the money upfront, you might have to post some form of property as collateral to the company to ensure that you’ll meet your obligations.
There are some different versions of bail bonds to work with. There are a lot of different situations that require a person to post bail, different income levels, and other factors that come into the situation. As a result, there have been people in your situation before, and a lot of them needed a loan of some kind.
There are bail bonds that will work for you and accommodate your situation. You’ll lose a little money to the interest over time, but getting out of jail without breaking the bank all at once is a good trade-off.
3. Personal Property as Collateral
You might also be in a situation where you don’t want a bail bond and you don’t have the cash to post bail.
In these instances, you can put some piece of personal property up as collateral while you get out of jail. You might have some valuable jewelry, a nice car, or own some property that is worth a good deal of money.
The general rule is that the value of the property should exceed the amount that the bail is set at. In a lot of cases, you might have to offer up %150 of the bail amount in the form of property.
The difficult thing is that your property might exceed that value by a lot. Let’s say that you need to put your house up as collateral to meet bail, and the value of your home is four times the amount of bail.
It isn’t as if you can put one-fourth of your house up as collateral. You have to offer the entire thing, then that becomes the temporary possession of the state.
If you fail to meet the obligations, you lose the thing you offered as collateral. In those cases, the risk might be too high to use your home as collateral. While you might not like the idea of going into debt for a bail bond, it might be a good alternative to putting your house at risk.
4. Getting a Personal Loan
Another option you have is to inquire to your friends about getting some money for a short period of time. There might be a few people in your life who are willing to help you out and get you out of jail.
That said, it’s important to think about this decision closely before you follow through. It might seem like the best option to borrow from friends, as they won’t always charge you any interest.
You can get the money, get out, and you’re Scott-free. They won’t punish you for late repayment, and there aren’t any cops coming to get you if you don’t pay them back at all.
They’re your friends, though, so you know you’re going to pay them back when you can.
It’s a slippery slope. You might not be as able to repay as you thought, and the repayment plan might even slip your mind after a while. This is an easy way to put a strain on your relationships and even lose friends or loved ones.
Money makes things complicated when you can’t pay it back, and using your friends and family as resources should be done lightly. That said, it might be your only option and only you know whether you’re able to repay them on time.
5. Piece Together You’re Options
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of these factors individually to post bail.
In other words, you don’t just have to use a bail bondsman to get out of jail. You don’t have to use all of your cash to post bail, either.
You can use whatever cash you can spare, then fix up the rest with the investment from the bail bondsman. You can also solicit your friends and family for a smaller sum of cash that would allow you to get out.
That way you put less strain on any individual component of your life. You won’t have as much debt to pay back, your friends and family won’t be putting themselves at as much risk, and you’ll have a little cash left for yourself when you get out.
The details of this method can be hard to work out while you’re still sitting in jail, though. In this case, you might need a trusted friend to do a little of the legwork for you.
If you don’t have that ability, you might be able to work with your lawyer on ideas for piecing together the right plan to get you out of jail without too much trouble.
Things to Remember When Dealing With Bail
Again, note that you will get your money back after the court process is over.
You must meet all of the specifications set forth by the court to do so, however. You run the risk of losing your money, property, and much more if you fail to show up. In those cases, you’ll wind up losing your money and going to jail.
If you miss court, you’ll also receive a warrant for your arrest.
If you manage to make all of the dates, though, you’ll always get the money back. This is even true if you’re found guilty. Friends or family will receive the money even if you’re sentenced to go to jail.
That said, there might be some costs that are deducted from your bail refund. You might have to pay legal fees or other court fees that came out of your hearing, and those fees are paid with the bond if it’s still in the possession of the court.
Be sure to speak with your lawyer about all of the specifics of this process if money is an issue for you. Even a court-appointed lawyer is there to help you through the process and have a solid understanding of what’s happening with your money.
In some cases, the money that your friends and family are putting up might be more important to you than time spent in jail. You’re entitled to understand the process before you’re forced into it, so ask questions and expect clear answers.
Want to Learn More about Bail?
Hopefully, this article gave you a good idea of how to post bail. If you’re still curious about posting bail or how to get bail bonds, though, we’re here to help you out.
It can be difficult when you don’t have the information you need in such a serious situation. Explore our site for more ideas on getting your bail posted, what are bail bonds, and much more.