An arrest, warranted or not, can be a huge disruption to your life. Even if you are not ultimately convicted, the time you spend in custody waiting for trial or sentencing can have a negative impact on your personal and professional life. No one should spend unnecessary time in jail. Fortunately, bail, or “the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial,” gives you the option to continue living your normal life in the meantime.
If you or your loved one has been taken into custody, then you should know that there are several bail options at your disposal. Today, our bail bonds experts at Affordable Bail Bonds are taking a look at the seven types of bail to determine which one may be right for you.
1. Citation Release
When it comes to potential jail time, a citation release is the ideal scenario, because you’ll never actually be taken into custody. In a citation release, in lieu of taking you to the station, the arresting officer will issue a citation ordering you to appear before a judge on a specific date. Typically, citation releases are given for minor crimes like traffic violations. Failure to appear in court at the specified time could result in a warrant for your arrest, loss of unemployment benefits, and loss of eligibility for tax refunds.
2. Personal Recognizance Release
Even if an arresting officer decides to take you into custody, you may be able to secure release without paying bail. A personal recognizance release is a pre-trial, pre-sentencing release granted by a judge. In this instance, no money payment is needed, simply a promise to appear in court at a specified time. Once you sign the paperwork, you are released from custody. If you fail to appear in court, or you do not adhere to the terms of release, then you may be remanded into custody until the date of the trial or sentencing.
This type of release is typically not allowed for high-risk cases, where the suspect is a likely flight risk or a danger to the public.
If a judge decides not to grant you personal recognizance release, you can still pursue the option in court. However, the associated legal fees can be greater than the bail itself, so this scenario is rare.
3. Cash Bond
If you don’t get a citation release or personal recognizance release, you are going to have to pay some sort of bail to get out of jail. A court will set your bail amount for pre-trial release. Cash bail is largely self-explanatory: this type of bail is paid in full up-front, usually in cash. Many places only accept cash, but some will also accept cashier’s checks or credit card payments.
Once you post bail, you will be released, but you will still be required to appear in court at the specified date. Failure to appear will mean the forfeiture of your bail money and the issuance of a warrant for your arrest. However, if you comply with the courts and attend all relevant hearings, your bail amount will be returned after sentencing (usually in full, although some courts hold on to a very small percentage as an administrative fee).
Some bail can only be paid in cash. This is usually ordered for more serious crimes in which bail cannot legally be denied, but the suspect presents a flight risk or is a danger to the public. Typically, in these instances, the judge will set bail high enough that paying the full amount in cash is extremely difficult.
4. Surety Bond
What happens if you are taken into custody and can’t make bail? A surety bond, also known as a bail bond, is one solution. If you can’t afford to pay the full bail amount, you can have a friend or relative contact a bail bond agent or bondsman at a surety insurance company like Affordable Bail Bonds. The bail bondsman typically charges a fee of 10 percent of the bail amount (and may collect additional personal items as collateral) in exchange for posting your full bail amount. This process can happen in as little as an hour.
You will be released, but you will be required to appear in court at the specified time. If you do not, the courts will issue a warrant for your arrest and will not return your bail money to the bail bondsman, which is why many bondsmen will have you sign a contract giving them permission to hire a bounty hunter (or bail recovery agent, as they prefer to be called) if you violate the terms of release.
If you appear in court and cooperate with all legal proceedings, then the courts will return your bond in full to the bail bondsman and your contract is fulfilled.
5. Property Bond
Another bail option entails pledging the full rights to a piece of personal property as collateral. Real estate is the most common, but it can be any large personal holding, such as a car or valuable stocks. In this instance, the court will place a “lien,” or a claim, on the property, and if you skip court, they will take it.
Property bonds should be used as a last resort. For one thing, they take a long time. It can take weeks for the property to be assessed for value, the court hearing to be conducted, and all relevant officials to sign off on the bond. For another thing, losing a house or other valuable asset can affect your life for years even after all your legal troubles are dealt with. Whenever possible, you should avoid signing away property as collateral.
6. Immigration Bond
Immigration bonds are used only for non-citizens or non-residents of the United States and can be difficult to obtain because of the lack of legal status of the arrested party.
Similar to a surety bond, if you are being held by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) on an immigration bond, then you have the option of paying the bond in full yourself or paying a bond agent a percentage to secure your release. Once released, you must attend all immigration hearings and report to ICE if you are ordered to be deported. Failure to do so forfeits the bond and usually means a warrant issued for your arrest, along with a possible bounty hunter on your tail if you were working with a bond agent.
7. Federal Bond
Federal bonds are issued for federal crimes and cannot be paid by a bail bondsman. If you are being held on federal bail, then your only options are to pay the full amount yourself or pledge a piece of property as collateral.
There Are Bail Solutions for You
If you are facing jail time in Oklahoma and cannot afford to post bail, then our trusted bail bond agents at Affordable Bail Bonds are ready to help. Our team has 30 years of experience helping people and families out of tough situations, and we’re ready to help get you released so that you can go back to your normal life today. Contact us anytime, 24/7, to get started.