Bail can sometimes seem unfair, especially when you don’t have the money to settle it. However, services such as the Connecticut Bail Bond Group in Shelton, CT, post bail bonds for people like you all the time. With their help, your loved one can bounce back and hopefully clear their name.
Here’s everything you need to know.
First, Understand Bail Basics
Let’s face it. Most people have never sat in the back of a patrol car, which means they’ve never needed to post bail. So here’s a brief overview. The US legal system assumes a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. That’s why it allows people to post bail to get back to their lives while battling the case on the side. This assumption is particularly important to wrongfully accused people or those with minor offenses like public intoxication. It would be totally unfair to spend weeks in jail for a silly mistake like that.
Still, the government does not want criminals to get away with crimes. So they collect refundable collateral to make sure people don’t skip town. If the accused plays by the bail rules, they will eventually get their money back. However, breaking any of these rules forfeits the defendant’s right to a refund. And they go to jail for the remainder of the case.
How Does a Judge Determine the Bail Amount?
A judge will consider the seriousness of a crime before deciding to allow bail. In addition to that, the judge will consider the accused person’s criminal record, job status, and if the defendant has dependents. Nonviolent, petty misdemeanors usually get a $500 bail, but the judge may decide to lower or waive it altogether.
In a recent development, the court system developed a computer system to help judges make bail decisions. It takes the current charge as input then considers the defendant’s age, criminal record, and other factors before recommending an amount. This system allows judicial officers to make consistent decisions in similar cases.
Here’s an example of how bail works:
Maria is arrested for running a prostitution ring. She is a naturalized American citizen, but her family is in Brazil. During the arrest, Maria had a passport and $5,000 cash on her. So the judge is finding it incredibly hard to set bail on her case because she is a high flight risk. Her family is also not in the country, which only adds to the chances of her skipping town. In this case, the judge denies bail for Maria.
What If You Can’t Afford Bail?
When life throws an unexpected bail your way, a bail bond company is one of your best options. This company sells you a surety bond that acts as collateral in court. And they make money by charging a small percentage of the amount in question. Most states regulate this percentage to about 10% of the total bail.
The bail bond company will need collateral for their money. This can be a deed to a house, car title, or jewelry. In addition, they will also need a family member who can act as a guarantor. This person will come in handy if the defendant skips town.
Do Bail Bonds Take Instalments?
Usually, bail bond companies take the 10% upfront before agreeing to post your bail. For example, if the judge sets a $55,000 bail, the bond bail company will ask for $5,500 upfront. Settling this fee in advance is the ideal situation, but there are times when the defendant can’t raise the money immediately.
Some bail bond services allow partial payments on big down payments. But that usually results in placing more collateral than you usually would. You would rather collect money from family and friends to pay upfront because 10% is already too high. You can then repay your creditors as soon as you can.
What Happens to the Bail Money?
The bond money goes straight into the court system and stays there until the last day of your case. Your attendance and cooperation will determine if you get the refund or not, but most people usually get it. However, this money goes back to the account that painted it in the first place. So, if you use a bail bond company, they will get the refund straight into their account. In the unfortunate event of breaking bond rules, your bail money leaves the justice system to run schools, maintain infrastructure, and fund other projects.