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Bail, bail bondsmen and the benefit of being out of jail

In our last blog post, we discussed what will happen when you have a bail hearing for a felony case. If you recall, the court can order that you post a bail in order to be released from custody as your case moves through the court system. Some bail amounts are more than an average person would be able to afford to pay in cash. When a defendant is facing a bail he or she can't pay in full, they might turn to a bail bondsman for help getting out of jail.

A bail bondsman is a person who can put up a surety bond on the defendant's behalf. Essentially, this means that if the bail bondsman gets you out of jail, he or she will have to post your full bail if you fail to show up for court.

When it comes to using a bail bondsman to get out of jail, you will have to come up with some money or assets. Generally, bail bondsmen require 10 to 20 percent of the bail amount to be paid to them before they will get you out of jail.

The fee you pay to a bail bondsman is non-refundable. Even if you show up to all the court hearings, you won't get your money back. That is the direct opposite of what happens when you pay cash for your bail. If you pay a cash bail, you will get that money back if you show up for all of your court hearings.

Working with a bail bondsman means that you are at the mercy of the bondsman. No bail bondsman is required to get a person out of jail. They have the right to refuse to work with you if they feel you are a flight risk or that you won't go to court.

No matter what kind of felony you are facing, your overall goal is to fight the felony charges against you. If you are out of jail because you posted bail or worked with a bail bondsman, you have the freedom to work on your case. At that point, you can determine your defense strategy options and get started with building your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Bail Bond Agents," accessed Nov. 18, 2015

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