If you’ve been arrested, you’ll likely have a special court hearing where you’ll be asked to pay bail: a financial amount allowing you temporary freedom until your day in court. While most people are no stranger to the concept of bail, there are some things you might want to keep in mind should you ever find yourself in the position of having to pay it.
Bail is Not Guaranteed
Though common, whether you get bail depends on various factors, e.g. the severity of the alleged crime, whether you’re a “flight risk” (a.k.a. likely to skip your court date or even skip town) and if the judge deems it safe to let you be free in public again.
You Can Get Your Bail Reduced
If the posted bail is high enough that even going to a bail bond company is above your budget, consider filing a request for a reduction. If accepted, a bail reduction hearing, separate from the initial bail hearing, will be held, where your and your defense attorney can make your case.
Bail Bond Companies Can Help
In exchange for a small percentage of the bail amount (a.k.a. a “bail premium”) and a guarantee that you’ll make your court date, a bail bond company agent can pay your bail for you. Find a bond company close to where you’ve been incarcerated, as it is more likely to be familiar with the area’s bail procedures: if you’re living in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, for instance, look up montgomery county bail bonds (rather than just searching in the general area).
You Can Get Your Bail Money Back
If you or someone on your behalf (e.g. a friend or family member) pays your bail in cash, that money will actually be returned once you’ve made all your obligatory court appearances. Even if you’re convicted, the money is still returned, albeit not all of it. If you’ve paid a bond agent to cover your bail, however, that money tends to be non-refundable.
Being arrested can be a stressful experience, but with this information in mind, paying bail doesn’t have to be.