If you are arrested, the first thing you will probably think about is how quickly you can be released from jail. This is a logical first thought when faced with the frightening prospect of spending time in jail. However, what you do after your arrest is extremely important and a decision should not be made without thought.
Do I Call a Bail Bondsman First?
Many people panic when arrested and immediately hire the first bail bondsman they find so they can be released from custody. This is not the best option in the majority of cases. Here are some of the reasons you should first consult with a criminal defense attorney before bailing out of jail.
Lower Bail Bond Fees if You Retain a Lawyer
If you use a bail bondsman, you will most likely pay a 10% fee based upon the bail amount. This means on a $100,000 bail, you would have to pay the bondsman $10,000. However, if you retain a criminal defense lawyer before contacting a bondsman you would have to pay only 8%. If your bail is set at $100,000, you would save $2,000 in bail bonds fees by retaining a criminal defense attorney.
It is important to know this before you hire a bail bondsman because you will not get your money back once you have paid the bondsman their fee.
It is Better to Wait until Your First Court Date before Posting Bail
Based on the facts of the case, bail can sometimes be raised at your first court date. If this happens after you have already posted bail, you would have paid a large amount of money for only a few days of freedom.
In many cases, our experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich recommend that our clients do not post bail until after the first court date. There are some very good things that can happen when our clients follow our advice:
- We may be able to talk to the prosecuting attorney and convince them not to file criminal charges at this time. If that happens, you will be released within two court days of your arrest and you will have paid no bail bond fees.
- At the first court hearing (called the arraignment), we can convince the judge to lower the bail or release your loved one on “his own recognizance,” which means he is released without having to pay any bail fees.
- In some counties – such as Orange County – your criminal defense attorney can visit you in custody and learn about your background and the facts of the case. A Wallin & Klarich attorney can then contact the “detention release officer” on duty and ask that the bail be lowered or that you be released without bail. This happens prior to the first court date, possibly as early as within a few hours after the arrest.
We recommend that our clients do not post bail because it is likely that the bail amount will go up at a subsequent court hearing. If this happens and you have paid a bondsman $10,000, that money will have been wasted because you will be returned to custody when the judge raises bail.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney before Posting Bail Can Make a Major Impact on Your Case
There are two ways that can allow you to be released from custody:
- The payment of “cash bail” – You go to the jail and you pay the full amount of the bond by use of cashier’s check, cash or credit card. So, if the bail is $25,000, you pay that sum. You do not pay a bail bondsman any money. However, your $25,000 is held by the court during the time that the case is ongoing. Normally, you receive your money back within 6 to 10 weeks after the case has concluded and the accused has appeared at all of their court appearances.
- “Property bond” – This is a much more complicated process and takes several days or longer to complete. The reason people would want to post a property bond is that they do not pay a bondsman any money. They have to post with the court the “title” to their property. The equity in the property must be two times the bail amount. If the bail is $50,000, you must post with the court the title to a piece of real property that has at least $100,000 equity. This requires that you receive a recent appraisal on the property. Your lawyer can then submit a request for the court to accept the posting of a property bond. If it is granted, you are released from custody. No bail bondsman is paid any money. However, you need to be aware that if your loved one does not appear at all of his/her court appearances, the court can take ownership over up to $50,000 in the value of your real property.
Call a Criminal Defense Attorney to Guide You through the Bail Process
Whether to post bail can be a life-altering decision. That is why it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you post bail. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been guiding people accused of crimes through the bail process for over 30 years.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
If you are arrested it is very wise to first consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney before immediately speaking with a bail bondsman.