What is Bail and How Does it Work
When a person is released on bail, it simply means that they have been released from prison in an exchange for money or collateral. Collateral is nothing more than a security for the court until further proceedings have been met. The person is then released from prison until the trial date is scheduled. If the court feels that you are a “flight risk”, meaning that you may flee the law to avoid criminal charges, your chances of being released on bail are unlikely.
After being arrested, you are then checked into a police station where an officer records detail information on you, along with the crime that you have committed, which may be a minor or federal offense. Your mugshots and fingerprints are then taken, along with any personal property that you may have, which is returned upon your release from custody. Then you are placed in a cell with other inmates. If you are charged with a minor offense, you can usually post bail immediately, or wait for a hearing at court, where the judge will determine if there will be bail, and what cost.
The amount at which your bail is set usually depends on the crime committed, but is usually at the judge’s sole discretion, or based on the standard amount for that jurisdiction. Your prior criminal record is considered, as is your history, status in the community, and whether you are considered to be a danger to those around you. There are different types of bail, the most straightforward of which is cash bail, meaning that the bail is fully paid in cash, as a money order, via credit/debit card, and, sometimes, by personal check.
The second type of bail is called a surety bond, or bail bond, which is most common when the accused cannot afford bail, although it can be used for any bail. An associate of the accused, such as their criminal defense lawyer, usually contacts someone called a bail bondsman, or bail agent, who is endorsed by an insurance or surety company who, in turn, must pay the entire bail amount if the accused does not appear for trial. The bail agent or bondsman charges the client a premium for this service, and usually collects some sort of collateral.
An arrest does not always result in bail being required for the accused to be released from custody, however. A police officer or judge may choose to release a person on a citation, which requires the accused to appear in court at a specific date, also known as a summary offense. In these cases, the crime is usually minor and nonviolent, however they still require the accused to appear for court, even though they are released without bail.
Do Check: Law of Pre-Arrest Bail in Pakistan
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