Paying your bail
Every state has their own protocol when it comes to bail bonds and how the amounts are determined. Today, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about bail bonds and how they work in the state of Virginia, with the most common of those questions being: How do bail funds decide who to bail out?
After being arrested, the person is taken to the local jail where they are “booked”. This includes getting their information like name, address, phone number, etc. They are fingerprinted and pictures are taken. Once they are booked, they will be presented before a judge for bail bonds procedures.
It is here where the judge will review the charges and facts about the defendant. Those fact will include previous arrest record, current attitude before the court, employment history, standing in the community, family, etc. With that information reviewed, the judge will determine if bail bonds are allowed and how much.
Bail Bond Methods
Bail bonds are a way for a defendant to get released from jail until their trial. Once the bail amount has been set by the judge, there are three common options for a defendant to be released:
- Own Recognizance – this is typically used for a lesser offence and the defendant is believed to be reliable at returning for their court date. They are allowed to sign a written promise to that effect.
- Cash Bail – this is paid in cash for the full amount of the bail established by the judge. Once the defendant has fulfilled all their required court appearances, the money is returned within 60 to 90 days. If the defendant doesn’t appear for any of the court dates, they forfeit their cash to the court.
- Surety Bond – this is a contract between a bail agent and the court with the bail agent guaranteeing the defendant will appear before the courts as ordered. A bail bond agent becomes a part of the process by request of the defendant’s family, friend, or lawyer.
What do jails do with bail money?
The money paid for bail bonds by defendants is distributed by the court to the city and county of where the arrest was made. The court will refund the money paid for bail bonds once the defendant has met all required court dates.
Can you bail someone out with no money?
The State of Virginia works a cash bail system, whereas when a person is arrested, a judge determines if the defendant should be allowed a pretrial release. If they deem they are not eligible, then they are kept in jail without bail. If the judge determines they are eligible to be released on their own recognizance, or if a bail bonds is necessary for them to be released.
When the defendant acquires secured bail bonds, the amount must be paid prior to the defendant being released. There is not a fixed scheduled amounts for bail bonds, but typically for a misdemeanor charge, bail bonds range between $500 to $5000, drug and property felony range between $2500 to $10,000; and a serious felony bail bonds range from $25,000 to $50,000.
Bail bonds companies will charge defendants typically 10% of the total bail bonds amount, which must be paid in cash or property equal to the bail amount signed over, like a vehicle, jewelry, or real estate. Bail bonds with payment plans are extremely rare and up to the bail bonds agent to arrange if they feel the defendant is worthy of making the payments and not skipping out on their court dates. The courts do not arrange payment plans for any bail bonds.
Is bail refunded?
It depends on how the defendant is bonded out. If a secured bail bonds is obtained, a financial guarantee is required that the defendant will appear for all required court dates. That financial security is by cash paid to the court or a bail bonds agent.
With a secured bond of $1,000 paid in full, once the defendant has met all requirements of the court, the bond is refunded minus any fees. If the defendant doesn’t appear for all required court dates, the $1,000 is not refunded.
How can I get my bail reduced?
Generally, a defendant can file a Motion to Reduce Bail Bonds to the courts and the judge presiding over the case will make the decision. This is one area where having an attorney is helpful. A defense attorney will have the experience and knowledge on how to file the motion and most attorneys are familiar with how certain judges work with these types of requests.
Can you get bail bonds without cosigner?
Yes, a defendant with sufficient property for collateral can obtain bail bonds without cosigners. That collateral will be held by the bail bonds agent and returned once the defendant has met all required court dates and other requirements.
How does bail bonds vs cash bonds compare?
Bail bonds are issued to person that puts collateral up as guarantee that a defendant will appear before the court as ordered by a judge. That defendant may be a family member, friend, co-worker, etc.
A cash bond is when the full bail amount is paid upfront. This can be paid by the defendant, a family member, friend, co-worker, or lawyer. A cash bond must be paid in cash. A cashier check, personal check, or any other form of payment is not accepted for cash bonds. Call 434-237-2245 today for your bail bonds needs in Halifax, VA, Danville, VA, and Chatham, VA.