Recognizing Your Responsibilities When You Bail Someone Out

Posting bail is a significant commitment and should not be taken lightly. When you post bail for a family member or friend, you assume certain responsibilities that could have serious financial repercussions for you. When you arrange a bail bond in Upper Marlboro , your bail bond agent will review the contract with you to be sure you understand both the responsibilities of the person you are bailing out and your own. Be sure to ask questions about the process if you have them. Here is a closer look at what your responsibilities are after arranging for bail for a loved one. bailed - out

Making Sure the Defendant Goes to Court

When you sign a bail agreement, you agree that the defendant will appear at every court date that he or she is scheduled to attend. The bail bond agent will not actively get involved in ensuring that a defendant goes to a court date. Although the defense attorney may attempt to get the accused to understand the importance of attending court, he or she only has a limited amount of power to make sure the defendant shows up. When you sign a bail agreement, you take on the responsibility to making sure the person you’ve bailed out is diligent about attending court.

Covering Fugitive Recovery Costs

If the person for whom you’ve arranged a bail bond skips bail, then you may be responsible for additional fees, including any fugitive recovery fees incurred by the bail bond company to find the defendant. The bail bond agent will request your help in locating the fugitive, and sharing any information you have could help save you a significant amount of money.

Paying for the Full Bail Amount

In addition to paying the bond fee for the agent’s services, you will have to pay the full bail amount charged by the court if the defendant cannot be located. That means you may lose the collateral you used to secure the bond, as it could be collected to offset the cost of the bail if you are unable to pay.

Are You Entitled to the Return of Bail Paid in Cash?

Cash bail involves paying the entire bail amount in cash directly to the court. This is different from a property bond, in which a piece of property is put up as collateral in lieu of cash, or a surety bond in Upper Marlboro , in which a bail bond agent posts on a bond on behalf of the defendant. If you are considering paying cash for bail, one question you are sure to have is whether your money will be refunded if the defendant shows up for all of his or her court cases. The answer is complicated.

Generally, you are entitled to have the cash you have posted as bail returned to you after the case against the person you bailed out has concluded. However, if the defendant is found guilty, there are a number of incidents in which the court can retain the cash bail. The reason that surety bonds are the most popular way of paying bail is they offer more protection than cash, so that the court is not holding a large sum of your money that they could keep.

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Bail and Repeat Offenders: What You Need to Know

With a few exceptions based on the type of charges, most first-time defendants are granted bail . For repeat offenders, the situation is different. The courts will consider past criminal history when making a decision about bail, and repeat offenders may face higher costs. Fortunately, a bail bond agent in Upper Marlboro can make posting bail possible, even if the amount is significant. If you or someone you are bailing out is a repeat offender, here are the facts you need to know. posting - bail

How does being a repeat offender impact bail decision?

Having a criminal history can weigh on bail decisions in a few ways. Depending on the nature of the past charges, the judge is likely to set bail higher than he or she would for a first-time offender facing the same charges. He or she may also decide to deny bail completely, if the defendant has a long criminal history. Violent crimes and other felonies are more likely to affect bail decisions than a non-violent misdemeanor charge that is many years in the past.

What can repeat offenders do to get the most favorable bail decision?

The best thing repeat offenders can do is to retain an attorney before the bail hearing, so that they have someone to advocate on their behalf. It can also be helpful to have a plan for where they will be living while out on bail and to demonstrate that not being out on bail will present a hardship, such as a leading to job loss for a person who is the chief breadwinner for a family or causing child care issues for single parents.

Will a bail bond agent work with a repeat offender?

Most agents will provide bail bonds for repeat offenders, provided that there is no history of skipping bail or money due to other bail agencies. If a defendant owes money to another bail bond agent, the company may insist those payments are current before issuing a bond.

A Look at Motion to Revoke Bond Hearings

In some instances, after loved ones go through the process of posting bail with the help of a bail bondsman in Upper Marlboro , the prosecutor may try to revoke the bond. If this occurs, there will be a motion to revoke bond hearing, during which the judge will listen to evidence and decide whether to allow the bond to continue.

Watch this video to learn about what to expect during a hearing to consider a motion to revoke a bond. Both sides will present evidence to prove or disprove that the defendant violated a condition of his or her bond. These conditions are agreed to at the time of posting bail and may include things like not traveling out of state, not possessing a firearm, and not using alcohol or drugs. If the judge determines the defendant has violated their conditions, he or she may be returned to jail. If not, the bond will be allowed to continue.

Should You Represent Yourself at an Arraignment Hearing?

Self-representation is a basic legal right of every criminal defendant. The art of self-representation is often glorified in crime dramas on TV, but in reality, it can have serious consequences. Representing yourself at your arraignment hearing instead of hiring a criminal defense lawyer may affect your ability to obtain affordable bail bonds . Even if you do manage to post bail in an Upper Marlboro-area jail, you may inadvertently make legal mistakes that may compromise your case. self - representation

Arraignment Procedures

The purpose of the arraignment hearing is not to determine whether you’re guilty or not guilty. It’s only an initial hearing during which the judge will formally read the charges against you and ask you to enter a plea. If you haven’t yet retained legal counsel, you will be offered the opportunity to request court-appointed counsel. The judge will also decide whether or not to set bail. If bail is set, then the specific amount will be determined. Normally, arraignment must take place within 48 hours of the arrest. However, in certain cases for minor offenses, defendants may be able to post bail beforehand and then return to the court to be officially arraigned at a later date.

Technical Errors

Most defendants lack in-depth knowledge of federal and state criminal codes, legal proceedings and protocols, and criminal justice rules. It’s quite easy for a defendant to make multiple errors when representing him- or herself, even during a simple arraignment hearing. To a judge, self-representation is not an acceptable excuse for ignorance of the law or of court rules. Not being able to represent yourself properly can lead the judge to set a higher bail or perhaps even to deny bail. In addition to compromising your ability to obtain bail bonds, representing yourself may prevent technical defects from entering the record. For example, the police officers may have made procedural errors that could have been entered into the record prior to your plea.

Case Knowledge

If you are taken straight from the jail to the courtroom for the arraignment, then you will not have had a chance to review your case. You won’t have the opportunity to read the relevant documents, talk to the prosecutors, or otherwise develop strategies for your defense.

What Happens if You Are Arrested When Out on Bail?

By posting bail , you are agreeing to certain conditions. You are agreeing to return to court for all scheduled appearances, and you may have to abide by other conditions of bail, such as maintaining employment and obeying all laws. This means that if you are arrested for another offense after posting bail in Upper Marlboro, your bail will usually be revoked. If you used a bail bond agent to get out of jail, then you’re likely facing other consequences as well.

When bail is revoked, the money paid to obtain a bail bond is forfeit. If you or your family signed over collateral, the asset could be forfeit because you violated the conditions of your bail. In addition, you could be facing serious legal consequences. In some cases, you may be charged with another offense for violating your original bail. If your criminal defense lawyer was engaged in plea bargain negotiations with the prosecutor, any plea deal will likely be withdrawn.

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Is Bail a Right?

Posting bail allows defendants accused of criminal offenses to be released from jail pending the resolution of their cases. Bail is routinely granted to most offenders and if an offender cannot afford the bail amount, he or she can turn to a bail bond agent in Upper Marlboro. A bail bondsman can arrange for the defendant’s release in exchange for a fee. Because the process of setting and posting bail is routine, it’s often assumed that practically all defendants have a constitutional right to obtain release on bail. This is partially true. bail - bonds

Eighth Amendment

The Founding Fathers of America believed strongly in personal freedom. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to protect certain individual freedoms, such as the right of a person to retain his or her freedom until he or she was proven guilty. To reinforce the idea of “innocent until proven guilty,” the Eighth Amendment prohibits judges from requiring excessive bail or setting excessive fines. Of course, the Bill of Rights does not specify exactly what would be considered excessive bail for various criminal offenses. This is subject to interpretation and there are reasonable exceptions to the right to bail.

Bail Factors

When a defendant goes before a judge at an arraignment hearing, the judge will consider the basic facts of the case and the history of the defendant to determine whether to set bail and if so, how much the bail payment should be. In certain cases, the nature of the crime is considered to be so heinous that bail is denied. For example, although accused serial killers and terrorists are technically innocent until proven guilty, the nature and severity of these crimes counteract the normal right to bail. In other cases, a judge may set very high bail in the interests of public safety. When determining whether bail is excessive or not, the judge may consider the financial resources of the family and the community ties of the defendant. If the family has vast financial resources and the defendant has minimal ties to the community, then the bail amount may be more likely to be higher than usual.

Answering Questions About Bail

After a loved one is charged with a criminal offense, families often begin to wonder how bail bonds work. Since regulations and protocols can vary from one jurisdiction to the next, it’s best to speak with a bail bond agent in Upper Marlboro. Your bail bond agent will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you understand what happens next in the process. For example, one common question families have is whether their loved one could be released without paying anything at all.

You can find out the answer to this question and others by watching this featured video. This bail bonds expert discusses what might happen if a defendant is out on bond in one county and then is arrested for a different offense in another county.

Understanding Bail Conditions

If you’re wondering how bail works, then you may have a loved one who has recently been arrested and has asked you to contact a bail bondsman in the Upper Marlboro area. Or, you may have been arrested yourself and your attorney has informed you that he or she will try to argue in favor of your release on bail bonds . It’s important for defendants to realize that being released from jail pending a trial is a privilege. As with most privileges, bail bonds may be revoked and the defendant may be sent back to jail if he or she violates any of the conditions of bail. bail - bonds

Appear in Court

Every defendant who is released from jail on bail is required to return to court on all scheduled dates for hearings and other legal proceedings. It is absolutely imperative that defendants make their court appearances a priority over other obligations. Failure to appear in court is a common reason why bail is revoked and arrest warrants are issued. To ensure that you or your loved one is punctual for court, it’s best to leave for the courthouse well ahead of time in case of traffic or other issues. If it appears that you will be late, you should contact the defense attorney immediately.

Be a Productive Citizen

In some cases, the judge may decide to set other conditions of bail. Some defendants may be required to maintain their employment status. If a defendant is unemployed, he or she may be instructed to actively seek work. Some defendants may be required to maintain their formal education programs or to begin one.

Avoid Lifestyle Issues

Other common conditions of bail involve lifestyle issues such as the use of alcohol; defendants may be barred from consuming it. Defendants might be required to avoid the use of illicit drugs.

Avoid Wandering Off

It is expected that defendants released on bail will not suddenly decide to take a vacation. They may be required to surrender their passports or have an electronic monitoring device placed. A curfew may be imposed.

Maintain Good Behavior

It should be a given that defendants who have been released on bail should avoid committing any crimes. Other common conditions of bail include checking in regularly with the police department and avoiding all contact, direct and indirect, with the alleged victim and witnesses.

What Are Your Responsibilities After Signing a Bail Agreement?

After the arrest of a loved one, your only thought may be to get him or her out of jail as quickly as possible. Making a bail bond payment will accomplish this and individuals in the Upper Marlboro area have several bail bond options. However, before you sign the paperwork and make a bail bond payment, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re getting involved with. After agreeing to a surety bond , you take on certain responsibilities. bail - agreements

Understand Your Role

As soon as you sign the bail bond contract, you will become the indemnitor. This is non-revocable; you cannot later change your mind and try to nullify the contract. The payment you make to the bail bondsman is non-refundable, even if your loved one’s case is dismissed, the criminal charges are dropped, or the individual is found not guilty.

Know the Court Dates

As the indemnitor, you are responsible for ensuring that the defendant gets to all of his or her court appearances. This is another non-negotiable aspect of bail. If the defendant fails to show up in court when required to do so, then he or she is assumed to have absconded from justice and violated the conditions of bail. Before you sign the bail bond contract, think carefully about the extent to which you trust that the defendant will appear at every court date. Consider whether you’re willing to put in the effort to transport the defendant to court if necessary.

Assess the Additional Fees

There may be a possibility that the defendant will not show up for a scheduled court appearance. If this happens, you should know that it’s your responsibility to pay any additional fees that result. When defendants skip out on court, the bail bondsman must hire a fugitive recovery agent to find them and bring them in. As the indemnitor, it’s your responsibility to pay the agent’s fees.

Consider the Other Consequences

If the defendant is never found, then you will face additional consequences. You will be responsible for paying the entire bail amount. If you put up collateral to obtain the bail bond, such as a real estate deed or vehicle title, then you will lose the property.