After an arrest, the initial thought that comes to mind is how to get out? This is where the idea of bail comes in. Bail is payable via cash, card, or some form of collateral given to the court or a bondsman to assure that the arrested patron shows up for their assigned court date. In a criminal defense case, before conviction happens or charges are dropped, bail is used as leverage to ensure that the defendant is present for their trial and held accountable for their accusations. Defendants that miss trail dates run the risk of receiving a warrant for their arrest. Below are some steps attached to the bail system and how it operates.
Types of Bail
Because the United States Constitution states that bail can not be an excessive or extraneous amount, there are several different types of bail, tailored to fit most individual’s financial situations and overall convenience. These include cash bail (paying the full amount to the courts) or a surety bond. This type of bail usually involves an outside party like a bondsman that will essentially vouch for the defendant’s appearance in court. A surety bond usually happens when defendants are unable to pay in full. Property bail is using someone’s personal possession as insurance such as a car title or house. Owners can forfeit claims on their property in the instance of a missed trial date. The court can then take possession of the property to cover the remainder of bail. This form of bail is extremely risky, and should only be used when all other options have been exhausted. Contacting a Miami criminal defense lawyer is the initial step to take if such an occurrence takes place.
Bail Payment Approaches
If a defendant is unable to pay their bail in its entirety, the court will accept what is known as a bail bond. Bail bonds are vouched payments through insurance companies guaranteeing that they will pay the remainder of the bail if the defendant does not show up for court. In several cases, insurance companies will only require 10 percent of the bail. If the defendant’s current bail is at $2000, the accused will only have to pay $200 with a guarantor signing. If the defendant shows up for a trial, the bond is returned to the insurance company. If not, the guarantor is held liable for the $2000 payment.
Conditions of Bail
Similar to a probation agreement, bail can impose limitations and court-issued restrictions to prevent a defendant from deserting their residence. Some conditions of bail include direct check-ins with court authorities, flight restrictions, non-possession of weapons or firearms, and even obligations to maintain employment up until trial date. If a defendant is ever confused about the conditions of their bail, speaking to a criminal defense lawyer in Miami is a proper place to start.
Violating Bail or Failure To Act
Should a defendant fail to appear in court, the criminal justice system can take the said person back into police custody. This not only forfeits the bail amount but also results in investigators and “bounty hunters” tracking the whereabouts of the defendant in an attempt to bring them back to jail if the courts grant the insurance company leeway. If the defendant is brought back into custody, in most cases, the bondsman is no longer held responsible for the entire bail payment. Like many facets of the justice system, bail can be a complex operation if it is not taken seriously. Some see it as a get-out-of-jail-free card, but in actuality, it can pose a heavy burden on your finances, home, and freedom if you are not careful. Sitting down with a skilled representative at the Stroleny Criminal Law Firm in Miami, Florida can assist with understanding your options and receiving adequate representation for your criminal defense case.