Getting acquainted with your options is just half the hassle when it comes to bailing yourself or a loved one out of jail. It could mean the difference between your freedom and the freedom of someone you care about. Basically, posting bail is your only alternative if you don’t want to spend the days, weeks, or even months leading up to your trial in a cell. Thankfully, the judicial system has devised a method of obtaining freedom even if you or a loved one do not have the full bail amount on hand. This leads us to the question; “Is it possible for you to post bail yourself out of jail” There’s more to the answer than a simple yes or no.
By the end of this post, you will understand why…
What Exactly Is Bail?
Bail is a sum of money that must be paid in order to be released from jail. Bail is based on the assumption that if you pay money to get out of jail, you will return to court for future appearances. However, if you fail to appear for your upcoming court appearances, the judge will most certainly issue an arrest warrant for you. However, it is not meant to be a punishment, and you are protected against excessive bail under the United States Constitution.
What is the Bail Bonds Process?
When someone is arrested, there is a process to follow, which includes posting a bond and appearing in court. The steps are the same whether you post bond yourself or have a bondsman do it for you. The following are the details:
- When someone is arrested and booked for a crime, they are referred to as a defendant.
- The defendant is detained in custody until their arraignment, which is when they appear in court for the first time. An arraignment is a brief session during which the court assigns a bond amount that must be paid before the individual is released from custody.
- After the bond is set, the defendant, a friend, or a family member can pay the entire bond sum.
- A bail bondsman can step in if no one has enough money to pay the whole amount. In this scenario, the cost of releasing a loved one from prison is a small percentage of the total cost.
- The defendant is released once the bond is paid.
- The defendant must present at all court dates in order for the bail to remain valid. Failure to do so could result in the defendant losing money, collateral, and his or her freedom.
Where Does the Bail Amount Come From?
The amount of your bail is determined by a judge, who will take into account a number of variables when deciding on an amount. The seriousness of the allegations against you, your work status, whether you have stable housing, your family situation, the judge’s assessment of your likelihood of returning, and your ties to your local community will all be taken into account.
Is it Possible to Bail Yourself Jail Out of Jail?
Both yes and no. You can bail yourself and be the lone cosigner if you are financially capable of paying the total amount at the time of the arrest. The catch is that bail is a cash bail, which means you must have the entire sum on hand in order to be freed. And because bail amounts vary based on the offense, it is unlikely that you will have the full sum in cash on hand. However, it’s quite uncommon for someone to post bail on their own. You are not alone, and there is assistance available to help you achieve your goals.
When Should You Hire a Bail Bondsman?
Hiring a bail bondsman is your best and quickest alternative if you don’t want to take the risk of losing some or all of your money to the court. Without it, you or a loved one will be incarcerated until the next court hearing, no matter how far away it is. This will alleviate the stress of having to give up a huge quantity of money while also allowing you or a loved one to avoid going to jail. Before you hire a bail bondsman, make sure you’re aware of the following:
- Defendant’s full name
- Date of birth, as well as the jail’s location,
- Booking number, and charges
- Amount of the bond
Once you’ve given the bondsman this information, you’ll be on your way to freedom! The bondsman will pail the whole bail amount when the 10% premium for the full amount of the bond is paid, and the defendant will be freed.
How to Bail Yourself Out of Jail
As earlier mentioned, you can surely pay your own bail if you have the funds on hand. In most cases, you will be sent back to jail, where you will pay the fine, and then be freed. Unfortunately, for many people who have been arrested, this is not the case. Bail amounts vary considerably, and even a $250 bail can be a financial burden that you may be unable to endure. To a large extent, bail is often set significantly higher.
However, if you are unable to pay the bail amount in cash, a bail bondsman may be able to assist you by offering a bail bond.
In this case, you would sign a contract with the bondsman agreeing to pay your bail on your behalf. The bondsman will pay the bail on your behalf, allowing you to be released from jail. In exchange, you will be charged a non-refundable fee for the bondsman’s services, which is typically around 10% of the total amount set. This money is kept by the bondsman regardless of whether you are acquitted or found guilty at trial.
In addition to the contract you signed, the bail bondsman will often contact the court and guarantee to pay the entire bond sum if you do not appear for your future court dates.
Meanwhile, a bail bondsman examines each case and decides whether or not to grant the accused a bond based on a set of factors similar to those considered by the court. Some things they’ll want to think about are:
- Whether or not this is your first infraction
- The length of time you’ve lived in the neighborhood
- Whether you have steady employment or not
- Your credit rating
- Whether or not you own a residence in your name with at least the same amount of equity as the bail amount
If the bondsman refuses to give the bond to you directly, you will almost certainly need to have a family member sign the contract with the bondsman.
Bail Bonds and the Procedure
Don’t be alarmed if this is your first time in jail or the first time a family member has been arrested and you don’t understand the bail bond process. Well, that’s why you have this information handy.
If you or a loved one can pay the bail amount, the bond will be posted and you will be released until your next court date. During your first court appearance, known as the arraignment, the amount of your bond is set.
Now that the bond has been established, the defendant, a family member, or a friend can pay it.
However, it is your responsibility to keep your promise to return to court on time when we release you from jail. You will forfeit your freedom, as well as any money or collateral if you fail to appear in court on the designated date.
How Do Courts Determine Bail Amounts?
While the minimum and maximum bail amounts are defined by law, the actual amount is determined by the judge hearing your case. However, for most misdemeanors, jails establish precise bail amounts to help prisoners get out of jail as quickly as possible. This is normally paid in the stationhouse, where you can also check the bail schedule. This permits persons who have committed small infractions but are nonetheless facing jail time to skip a long conversation with a judge and their trial lawyer.
If a judge sets a bail amount that is too high for a defendant to afford, they can ask the court to reduce it. This usually necessitates a separate bail hearing or is considered at the time of the defendant’s arraignment. Of course, this varies by state, but for minor misdemeanors, judges are more likely to be lenient and set a bond amount that the defendant can afford to avoid unnecessary hardship or harsh punishments that aren’t proportionate to the offense.
Meanwhile, courts have begun to use modern technologies to help them establish bail and make more judicial decisions about a person’s pre-trial release in recent years. Some states have begun to use algorithms to calculate a more mathematically reasonable bail amount that takes into account characteristics like age, criminal background, medical condition, and so on. These algorithms are intended to assist judges in determining and assessing the likelihood of a defendant committing additional offenses or failing to appear in court.
Is Bail Ever Too Much?
Yes, technically. The 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution, however, protects defendants from excessive bail, stating that
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor harsh and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Bail is not a way for the government to make money; it is intended to ensure that the defendant completes the entire legal procedure. Again, contrary to popular beliefs, bail is not a punishment; rather, it is a guarantee that the offender will comply with the court’s orders. Of course, all of this is theoretical.
Unfortunately, in practice, a lot of judges set unreasonably expensive bail in order to keep defendants in custody for as long as possible. It isn’t legally illegal, but it is a means for the court to get around the law in order to keep a watch on potentially ‘dangerous’ persons. Judges are well aware of this, thus they will usually press for the highest amount while staying within the ‘reasonably calculated’ limit set by law. However, if you believe your bail is exorbitant, consult with your lawyer.
What Happens Once Bail Is Paid?
If you post bail, it doesn’t imply you’re free or that your case has been dismissed; rather, consider it as a pre-trial condition that permits you to stay out of jail until your trial. After you’ve been bailed out (either on your own or with the help of a bondsman), you must adhere to specific Conditions of Release, which are a set of rules and regulations that you must observe before your trial. If you break any of the bail conditions, your court has the authority (and often does) to revoke your release, re-arrest you, and send you back to jail.
These Conditions of Release will vary depending on the nature of the crime; for example, a person accused of domestic violence may be told not to contact their alleged victim, or a person accused of misdemeanor theft against a business may be told to repay the full amount of what they allegedly stole, and so on.
You’ll get your bail back once the trial is finished.
Is It Possible for Me to Get Out of Jail for Free?
Many people believe that a “Get Out of Jail Free” card is something invented by Monopoly; however, courts frequently release defendants on the basis of a simple signed promissory note to return to court. This is referred to as being released “on their own recognizance,” or “O.R.”
The defendant must demonstrate that they are unlikely to flee the law and that they are trustworthy enough to comply with both the future trial processes and their current Conditions of Release in order to be released. Also, you won’t have to post bond once you’ve been released from the hospital.