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Bail or Bond – Is There a Difference?

If you’ve been arrested and put in jail, the first thing you want is to get out. The conditions of your release from jail depend on the type of criminal charge you face and the potential consequences if you fail to appear for your court date. You must figure out how to get released from jail in Savannah, Georgia before you are able to go home. How you do that depends on the circumstances of your arrest, in addition to other factors such as your criminal history and financial resources.

If you’re arrested, one of the first things you will need to find out is whether you are allowed to “post bail” and get released for your type of crime. You will need to know what sort of requirements may be placed as a condition of your release. This article will define the terms bail and bond and the difference between the two.

The Difference Between Bail and Bond

Attorneys often use the word bail and bond interchangeably so sometimes it can be confusing. Technically, bail is the money or property required in the form of a security deposit and is given to ensure that you will return and appear for your court date if you are released. By paying the bail amount, you are using that act to symbolize your seriousness in promising to return if you are let out.  If you do not keep that promise, you forfeit the bail.

Sometimes you may not have the financial resources to pay, or you are unable to get the money quickly. This is where a bondsman or bonding company steps in. They assure the court that they will pay the bail amount on your behalf in exchange for you paying them a fee. This financial pledge from the bonding company is called a bond.

A bail bond is a contract between you and the bonding company. It is called a bail bond to be more specific as to what the bond is for.  In exchange for paying the bondsman, the bondsman agrees to post your bail so you can go home.

Bonding companies or bail bondsmen do not do this for free. The cost to you depends on the bonding company. Some companies charge 15% of the bail amount while others charge 10%. For example, if your bail is set at $25,000 then 10% of $25,000 would be $2,500 and that is what you would need to come up with to pay your bondsman.

Some companies require the full amount while others may allow a down payment upfront and the balance to be paid off. If you personally were able to pay the full amount of the bail to the court, then you will get all or some of that money back when the case is over.  If you pay a bonding company their fee to post your bail, you will not get that fee back.

How the Judge Determines the Amount of the Bail

Judges consider many things when setting bails, including:

  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • Prior record
  • Whether there are outstanding warrants against the defendant
  • Previous bonds given
  • Flight risk
  • Financial status

The Judge wants the amount you stand to lose to be an incentive to return. You or your defense lawyer can ask for a lesser amount based on things like you are of good character, first time accused of this crime, or it is unlikely you will flee.

Bail Conditions

Bail conditions are requirements set by the court in addition to the amount of money and can be very restrictive. The conditions may require you to stay at home unless accompanied by a family member or friend, refrain from contacting witnesses, and surrender any firearms or other weapons. If you violate these terms, you could lose your bail privileges and return to jail to await your trial.

If you are unable to post bail, either with your own resources or through a bonding company,  you will remain in custody until your trial date. However, if you have posted bail, you will be free to leave jail and return for your trial.

Contact a Savannah Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Bail is the amount set by the Judge you must pay to be released from jail while your case is pending. A bond is a financial pledge or promise you have contracted with a bondsman or bonding company and you are promising to follow the court’s conditions and appear for trial. If you have been arrested, the first thing you will need is a good criminal defense attorney like an attorney from the Phillips Carson Phillips law firm. Your attorney can help you with any number of questions including “how do I get out of this jail?”

You have rights and asking for and having your attorney present to advise you is one of them. Do not answer any questions regarding the crime for which you have been accused without a lawyer. Additionally, your lawyer can help with the process of bail and arrangements with a bonding company.

Your criminal defense attorney can help you with the challenges of being accused of a crime, including posting bail. If you face criminal charges in Savannah, Georgia, Phillips Carson Phillips can assist with your case. Our lawyers are experienced and will defend you rigorously. Schedule a consultation by calling (912) 232-0081 or using our online contact form