Posting bail after an arrest is setting up an agreement between the accused and the courts. They pay a determined amount of money in exchange for freedom and the guarantee that they will return to court when they are ordered to. And while not everyone can afford to post bail right away, there are still options.
Here’s what to do if you can’t afford to post bail:
- Ask for a lower bail:
Many common crimes have a set bail amount, but if you can’t afford the price, then you have the right to ask for the amount to be lowered. Depending on the state, requesting a lower bail amount can be done at arraignment or in a special hearing. Remember, the Eighth Amendment protects you against being charged an excessive bail amount.
- Secure a bail bond:
Bail can usually be paid in cash or with a personal check, but if you cannot pay the full amount, then a bail bond is your next best option. Companies that supply bail bonds will charge a fee. Typically the fee will be 10% of the bail amount, but the bail bondsman will then pay the entire the amount to the courts. The company or bondsman must then ensure that you return to court when ordered.
- Provide Collateral:
You can also provide property or items to a bail bonds company in order to make the 10% fee. The collateral may be required to be worth 150% to 200% the price of bail, meaning you or a loved one may have to put up your home, car, boat, or other big item in order to pay the bond deposit. Not all companies need collateral, but the items will be returned upon the legal release of the accused.
- Your Own Recognizance:
Being released on “one’s own recognizance” or “O.R.” means that the accused will promise to return to court when ordered without being required to post bail. This usually occurs when the defendant is unlikely to flee the area for economic reasons, has personal ties to the community, or has no prior criminal record. The accused must not engage in any further illegal activity while they await trial.
Posting bail is equivalent to re-gaining your freedom, and not being able to afford bail should not mean the accused must wait in jail. Here at Bail Hotline, we provide services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to help you pay your bail amount. We even offer flexible payment options and discounts for those who qualify. A Bail Hotline agent will determine your individual needs and create a plan that is right for your situation. Everyone deserves the opportunity to post bail, so visit our website today for more information or give us a call. (888) GET-BAIL