26th October 2020
After being arrested, you may be scared, stressed, and unsure of the process that’s to follow. There are many steps in the criminal process that begin the moment you’re arrested and will continue until after your trial. Whether you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs, one of the first things that will surely go through your head is how can I get out of jail? What is bail or bond anyway and what am I supposed to do?
Bail vs Bond
Bail and Bond are two terms you may hear quite often in the context of a criminal arrest. Bail refers to the amount of money that a defendant must pay the court to secure their release until their trial date, acting as an insurance between the court and the defendant that they will show up for their court date. Bail allows a person to leave jail and go home before their court case occurs. Bail may range from $1,000 to millions of dollars, depending on the charge.
Bond refers to a loan that is provided by a third-party to pay the bail. This is because many people can’t afford to pay bail and they need a bail bond agent to help them. A bail bond agent will then be enlisted to pay the bail for them. A bail bond is different from regular bail, as it’s provided by a bond company through an agent to release the defendant from jail. This bail bond guarantees that the defendant will appear for their trial.
The defendant is required to pay 10% of the bail amount to the bail bondsman. The bail bondsman then secures the remainder of the money in form of collateral from the defendant. If the defendant does not appear in court, the remainder of the bail bond must be paid to the court. If the defendant does appear in court, the collateral is returned to the person who posted it and the 10% is kept by the bondsman.
Example of How Bail Bonds Work
As an example, if the bail set by the court is $5,000 dollars then this is the amount the person must pay in order to go home while they wait on their trial.
If the person cannot afford to pay the full amount and they will need to use a bail bond agent. The bail bond agent requires that the person (or someone on their behalf) pays 10% of the bail, which in this example would be $500.
They must also give the bail bond agent some type of collateral–like to a car, a house, or an expensive piece of jewelry–to cover the remaining $4,500. This is because the bail bond agent will be paying the court the full $5,000 on your behalf which is a type of guarantee that you will show back up to court.
If you show up to court then the $4,500 is return to the bail bond agent; however if you do not, they lose that money. This is when they would fall back on the collateral.
A bail hearing is an appearance in court in which the judge will determine whether not you will be granted a bail amount. A bail hearing can also be called to determine if the bail amount should be lowered or if reasonable conditions can be imposed to permit a defendant to be released pretrial.
There are a few different possible outcomes from your bail hearing. Bail is used to prevent a person from fleeing before their trial occurs, and some people may be more of a flight risk than others, leading to these different outcomes. You can click here to read more about North Dakota’s release laws.
Release on Own Recognizance
Release on Recognizance (ROR) – The defendant is released from jail upon signing a form agreeing that they will return to court and also abide by any other necessary conditions. The defendant is not required to pay any sort of bail, but is trusted that they will return.
Personal Bond – The defendant is released under the conditions that they must sign a bond. This means that they will be liable for criminal penalties if they do not appear in court for their trial. Nothing needs to be paid, but they may incur fees and other penalties if they fail to appear for their future court date.
Bail Set with Terms of Release
Bail with Terms of Release – In this case, the defendant must post bail in the amount set by the court. They must either pay the bond themselves or secure a bond through a bail bond agent.
Denial of Bail
Bail Denied – If bail is completely denied by the court it is because they believe that the defendant is too much of a flight risk, or could commit further crimes if they were to be released from jail. The defendant will then be held in jail until their court date. This is most common in situations in which the person committed a serious crime, or they have failed to show up for prior court dates and the court has reason to believe they will not show up again.
How Does a Bail Bond Work?
To further clarify how a bail bond works, here is another example:
If someone were to have a bail of $10,000, but the defendant doesn’t have $10,000 in cash, they must seek help from a bail bondsman, who will post the bail bond on their behalf. The bail bondsman requires a 10% fee to post the bail bond, in this case $1,000.
In order to secure the other $9,000 the bail bondsman will seek out collateral from the defendant or their family. This could be in the form of a car, house, jewelry, or other expensive possessions the defendant or their family may have.
When the defendant appears in court, they will receive their collateral back from the bond agent, minus the $1,000 that was paid upfront which serves as a fee to the bail bondsman. If the defendant chooses not to appear in court, the rest of the bail would be paid using the defendant’s collateral.
However, if one were to post the entire $10,000 themselves without using a bail bondsman, they would be entitled to a full refund of their money at the end of their case, regardless of the outcome. The money put up for bail is simply to ensure that someone appears for their court date and doesn’t flee before their trial.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve recently been arrested in North Dakota, hiring a criminal defense attorney is crucial to ensuring that your rights are upheld. An experienced criminal defense attorney can argue for a less severe punishment, lower fees to be paid, or for a reduced bail amount. Of course, if your case goes to criminal trial, your attorney will help you throughout the entire process.