The Name's Bond, Cash Bond: Know Your Bail Types
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Schwen
A popular question I see is, "What can I expect for bail?" The answer is always the lawyerly go-to of, "It depends." Generally, what you can expect for bail largely depends on the nature of the crime for which you've been accused. There are several different types of ways to get bail you should be aware of, so that when the gavel falls, you know the next step. Here are the most popular types of bail:
Many of us have actually experienced this before. If you've ever been stopped for speeding and issued a citation, the officer may tell you, "I'm placing you under arrest and releasing you with this citation." You aren't taken into custody. This option isn't something you get to ask for. It's something the officer decides to do for you, and it's the one you hope for because no one wants to be taken into custody.
"ROR" Released on Own Recognizance
One rung below Citing Out on the bail ladder is ROR. This generally means you've been arrested and taken into custody, but you can be released without paying money, as long as you promise to be at court on a certain date.
This type of bail is pretty straight forward. A judge will set your bail at X number of dollars. If you want to be released, you need to pay the entire amount in cash. The good news is, you will generally get your money back once you've gone to all of your court dates. The bad news is, you have to pay the entire amount upfront.
A surety bond is an agreement between you, the court, and a third party who has promised your appearance while paying for your bail. Should you find yourself in a situation where you don't have the entire amount of cash to secure your release from jail, you may find yourself dealing with the bail bondsman. A bail bondsman will pay your bail on your behalf once you've given them an up-front percentage of money. Generally, it's assumed to be 10 percent of your bail. Once you've paid the bondsman 10 percent and he's fronted the rest to the court with your promise to appear, he keeps your 10 percent as his fee. The good news: it provides you an avenue of bail in the event you don't have enough scratch. The bad news, you lose your 10 percent. But maybe that's a small price to pay to be released?