Bailing yourself out of jail may seem like a faster way to regain your freedom. But it’s also a decision that can come with an array of caveats, as you’re about to see. Considering that most bail amounts in our area run from $500 on the low end to $10,000 on the high, that’s a pretty large chunk of change to be carrying with you!
In this article, we look at what to expect if you go this route. We also discuss better alternatives. Let’s begin!
What happens when you get arrested?
Getting arrested happens once a law enforcement officer has determined you’re at fault for a crime worthy of arrest. This can range from less serious offenses (public intoxication) to crimes of a grievous nature (battery, rape, murder). Once you’re taken into custody by the officer, she’ll take you to the city or county jail. Here, you’ll have your picture taken and be booked into custody.
Once you’re in their care, the bail process can begin. This consists of the following:
- You learn when your arraignment will be
- A bail amount is set by a judge
- You get the option of paying the bail amount in full or contacting a family member or bondsman to help cover the cost
If you’re a frequent visitor to this site, then you know there are two types of bail: cash bail or bond out. Cash bail means paying the full amount up front. Bonding out means paying a portion of the bail and using an intermediary to do it for you.
How do you bail yourself out of jail?
To bail yourself out of jail, you’ll need the full amount that the judge sets. For less serious crimes, this could mean a signature bond (your release with the promise to return by a certain date) or a relatively small amount ($500-$1,000).
If you have the amount on you or can scrounge it up, then you’re free to go. However, if the amount is too high or you can’t afford it, then you’ll need to stay in jail until your arraignment or seek outside help.
If you decide to pay the full amount yourself, you’ll need to give the money to the correct person. For most city and county jails, this is the sheriff or jail captain. They will likely accept cash, check, or money order, though it could vary depending on the jurisdiction. The specific court’s website should have the right information and guidelines to follow. You can also ask the intake officer.
The pros and cons of paying for your own bail
Should you bail yourself out of jail? This is a tough question with no easy answer. If you’re innocent of the charges against you, then it might make sense to try and get out so you can better prepare your defense. If you’re guilty or think you might be convicted, then it might be better to stay in jail and receive a reduced sentence.
When it comes to paying for your own bail, it can expedite the time to getting your release. But what you have to consider is that not showing up for your next court date, even if it’s for reasons beyond your control, will result in you losing all of that money. Furthermore, the faster release time is negligible and not enough to really matter when you compare it to using a bail bondsman.
Also, there’s the issue of accessibility. Most people aren’t going to have an extra $500-$1,000 in cash handy to spring for the bail right there on the spot. You’re almost certainly going to need to involve a friend or family member in getting you access to the funds.
What to do if you can’t afford to bail yourself out of jail
If you can’t afford to bail yourself out of jail, then you’ll need to seek outside help. This could mean contacting a bail bondsman or getting a loan from a friend or family member.
Bail bondsmen are professionals who can help you post bail and get out of jail quickly. The fee that you’ll pay is minimal (generally, around 10-15% of the total bail amount). From there, the bondsman will post the bail for you in exchange for the fee and the promise that you will appear at court for the next scheduled time.
Thankfully, the right bail bondsmen are located close to the detention centers they serve, have a working knowledge of the courts’ system, and are in good standing so you can rest easy that your money will not be misused and your trust will be kept. Bondsmen are usually great people to start with regarding your defense as well, as many have relationships or knowledge of the quality attorneys who specialize in the types of defense that you’re going to need.Being arrested is scary, but it’s much easier to navigate with an advocate on your side. At Delta Bail Bonds, we’ve been that way for individuals in your situation for many years. No judgment, just support. That’s what we can grant you. Contact us today to learn more or to get the process started.