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How Does Bail Work?

As a criminal defense law firm, we're often asked, "how does bail work?" You've probably heard the word "bail" before but may not be completely clear on what it means. According to Nolo.com, "Bail is cash, a bond, or property that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant doesn't show up, the court may keep the bail and issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest."

How does bail work?

 

When a person is arrested, they are often released on bail during the period between the arrest and their appearance in court. Bail can be posted in either cash or a check in the full amount of the bail, with property worth the full amount of the bail, or via a bond through a bail bondsman that is guaranteeing the full amount of the bail.

 

How is my bail amount determined?

 

The severity of the crime determines the amount of the bail. Those who are more of a flight risk or have committed a more serious crime are generally assigned with a higher bail amount. The main purpose of the bail is to grant the freedom of the person being charged until the moment of their trial. Bail should not be looked at as a way for the court to make money or as a punishment for the crime, as the defendant has not been formally found guilty yet. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

 

What happens when you can't afford your bail?

 

In the event that you don't have enough cash to post the full bail amount, the assistance from a bail bondsman would be necessary. A bail bondsman acts as a type of insurance company in these situations and will post the bail on your behalf. They promise to pay the entire amount if the defendant does not show up on his or her court date. In order to be able to do this, the bail bondsman will charge usually a 10 percent fee. For example, if the bail is set at $100,000, then the defendant would need to pay $10,000. If he or she fails to appear in court, then they would owe the entire $100,000 to the bail bondsman. The reason for this is that the money that the bondsman paid to the court on your behalf to post your bail, will be kept by the court in the event that you miss your court date.

 

If you or a loved one are currently out on bail and are awaiting trial, it's in your best interest to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having the right attorney on your side can help ensure that you are well aware of your court dates and all of your options to guarantee that your bail money is returned once you've reached your court date. Russell Spatz can be reached at (305) 442-0200.

 

References:

 

Nolo. "Bail: Getting Out of Jail After an Arrest." Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 7 Oct. 2016, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bail-getting-out-of-jail-30225.html.

 

"The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." National Constitution Center - The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-viii.

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Spatz Law Firm, PL
14707 S Dixie Hwy
Suite 302
Miami, FL 33176

Phone: 305-442-0200
Fax: 305-253-0979
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