One of the most common questions that defendants ask a criminal defense lawyer has to do with the posting of bail. The ability to post bail will allow a defendant to access their attorney more conveniently, have the ability to help collect evidence and not have to spend the time between arrest and trial in a prison cell. Posting bail is one of those things that allows a defendant to work in close coordination with an attorney in order to properly navigate the many minefields that exist within the system.
Additionally, by posting bail a defendant will not have to spend a long period of time behind bars before the trial even begins. We can help our clients and first-time offenders avoid this situation.
How Bail Works
In the past, a defendant would most likely have to spend their entire arraignment and trial in a jail cell. This was to prevent people from running away and refusing to appear for trial. Today, the courts recognize that unless specific circumstances warrant holding a prisoner, it is a violation of habeas corpus to hold someone before and after the trail.
Bail is a bond posted by the defendant, with the court to ensure that they will return and face trial. In other words, bail is a specific sum of money that is determined by the judge to be a suitable deterrent against fleeing which the defendant must give the court in order to secure his or her freedom, pending the trial. Most of the time, the bail set is too high for people to come up with. At this point, a bail bondsman will step in to provide a solution.
A bail bondsman is a lender. They will provide the court with the sum of money needed for the defendant to be released, in exchange for a fee and collateral. Bail bondsmen will typically take property, including real estate deeds, as collateral for putting up the entire bond amount which is ordered by the judge. The bail bondsmen are then at risk of losing their investment, should the defendant flee. Bail bondsmen will often employ the services of professional bounty hunters to bring back bail jumpers if it is necessary.
A criminal defense lawyer also has an obligation to advise their clients that jumping bail could result in additional charges and that it is the responsibility of anyone accused of a crime to stand trial and put up a robust defense.
While out on bail
The purpose of bail is to allow the defendant and their criminal defense lawyer to work on the case, prevent the emotional hardship of being incarcerated, and to allow the defendant to continue living a normal life including earning an income while pending trial. It is not recommended that a defendant engages in any activities that could be construed as a violation of their bail terms. Staying on the straight and narrow could prevent additional charges or problems.
To discuss your case or seek legal guidance, call our office right away.
Note: This is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.