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Bail, What is it?

If you’ve been arrested, you may wonder what’s next?  Will you have to sit in jail until your trial?  The answer is usually not in most cases.

Typically, a court date will be set and at that first court date, the judge will set conditions of release and bail.

What is Bail? It is a process that allows a person who has been arrested to be released from jail in exchange for a pledge of money or property and a promise to return to court for court hearings.  If the person macriminal lawkes all of the court hearings, the bail is refunded to him when the case is over regardless of the outcome of the case. However, if the person misses a court date, the bail may be forfeited and the court keeps it.  Usually, in that case, a warrant will be issued for the person’s arrest.

How much is Bail? Bail is usually set at an amount that is large enough to convince the accused person to return to court.  The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars excessive bail, but the specific amount is determined by factors such as the:

  • Seriousness of the crime
  • Criminal record of the accused
  • Likelihood the accused will leave the area
  • Financial resources of the accused

An accused person can be held in jail and denied bail for reasons such as being a danger to the community or if he is a likely flight risk. Sometimes, too, a judge will set bail extraordinarily high as a way of keeping someone in jail until trial.

What is a Bail Bondsman? If you can’t afford bail or don’t have access to large sums of money, you can use a bail bondsman.  In exchange for posting a bond, the bail bondsman charges a non-refundable fee, which in Florida is a standardized fee of 10 percent of the bail amount.  The bondsman promises to pay the full bail amount to the court if the accused doesn’t show up for court.  By using a bail bondsman, the accused person gets out of jail for much less than having the pay the full bail amount himself.  However, the fee is non-refundable.

If you’ve been accused of a crime, an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney can help sort out your best course of action to make sure you stay out of jail.