What Do You Need To Know About Bonding somone out of jail? This two-minute explanation will give you an idea of how bond came to be as it puts everything in a little bit better perspective. When you think about bond, you have to think back a hundred years ago. When someone was accused of a crime a hundred years ago, there were a lot less people, with the basically the same amount of courts. When someone would get accused of a crime, they would hire a lawyer while they were sitting in jail. The lawyer would come down and talk to them and then within a couple of weeks, there would be at trial deciding whether the person did or didn’t commit the crime.
Since there are so many people now and the justice system doesn’t work nearly that fast, a person can be waiting six months before they are brought to trial. The right to speedy trial was created so that someone must be brought to trial within 180 days of arraignment. Those six months can be expanded, depending on when they are arraigned, into a very lengthy time. So instead of keeping someone in jail for 6 months when they may be innocent just waiting on a trial, the courts had to come up with a solution.
So, a person will say, “I will promise that I’ll come back and address this crime, if you let me out of jail,” instead of someone sitting in jail for months and months and months for a crime they might not have committed. This is where bond comes in. But sometimes an accussed person's promise is not enough. Sometimes the judge will say, “Well, I can’t trust you enough that you’re going to come back here.” So, what they do is make the person put up money or a surety that says that they are going to back up their word and they are going to be in court. That is called a bond.
That bond is going to be higher if the person is a risk. Whatever the court needs to assure the person will come back to court, that’s going to dictate the amount and the conditions of bond. If it’s all a low level crime where the person has a low criminal history or no criminal history, the bond may be just a promise. It may be a few hundred dollars or a thousand dollars. The higher the severity level of the crime, considering the more criminal history the person has, considering that a person’s ability to leave, considering any number of factors is where the judge sets bond.
Some of those bonds are going to be scheduled bonds where the judge just says, “On every DUI first-time, it’s $1,500.” The other ones are going to be determined ad hoc, based on what the judge feels about the person.
As far as how bond works practically, when an average Joe gets arrested and the judge sets a person’s bond for $1,500 or $5,000 or whatever the amount is, most people don’t have that kind of money just sitting in an account somewhere. What they will do is hire a bail bondsman.
A bail bondsman is going to put up the bond amount to the court so that a person can be released. They will charge a fee because the bondman has to pay the entire amount of the bond if the defendant skips town. So long as you show up for court, even if you’re found guilty, whether you post it or a bondsman posts it, so long as you show up, someone will get all that money back. If you hire a bondsman you will not get the money back you paid the bondsman, that’s his fee, that’s how he makes his money.
Aside from the money aspect, other things to consider are the conditions on bond. There can be pretrial services, which is bond supervision. Basically, it’s like being on probation while you are on bond even though you’ve never been convicted of the crime. It’s somebody looking after you, making sure that you’re not going to skip, making sure that you are not doing drugs, and making sure that you are following the judge’s orders.
A judge can ask you to do just about anything on bond. He can make you do counseling, drug testing or any number of things. He can take away your right to own a firearm and make you abstain from alcohol; those are all conditions of bond. If you violate that bond, then the judge can revoke it and put you back in custody and basically take your promise away.