One of the biggest issues in criminal law right now is bail. A lot of states are getting rid of it all together. This is because the bail system is said to work against poor people. The states that still have a bail system are looking at ways to make it fair. Bails bonds exist to help people who would otherwise sit in jail for months or years.
Imagine the Following Two Scenarios:
- Citizen X is arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. He attacked his neighbor with a golf club after a drunken night of partying. He makes $500,000 a year and owns a multi-million-dollar home. Also, he has a few million in the bank and comes from a very wealthy family. His bail is set at $1-million dollars. His wife pays the bail within an hour of his bond hearing. He goes home, showers and goes on with his life. His trial takes place 10 months later.
- Citizen Y is arrested for panhandling. He was asking people for change as they exited the city subway station. He is homeless and has no family. At his bond hearing, the judge sets bail at $1,000. Citizen Y has a history of minor offenses and can’t provide the court with a permanent address. Citizen Y doesn’t have $1,000 to pay his bail. He doesn’t even have $5 to his name. He sits in a cold jail cell for 11 months awaiting trial.
Something just feels wrong about this scenario, doesn’t it? This is why we have bail bonds.
If You Can’t Afford Bail, Call a Greenville Bail Bondsman
Unless you’re arrested for a very serious crime, the judge will probably grant you bail. It may be low or it may be very high. The court sets bail based on a few things.
The Seriousness of the Charges
- If you’re arrested for armed robbery, your bail is going to be a lot higher than if you were arrested for petty theft.
Your Criminal History
- If you have never been arrested before, your record will be clean. Judges will set lower bail for people with a clean criminal record. This is because there is less of a chance of you committing another crime before your court date.
- The court will look at things like whether or not you have a job, how long you’ve lived at your address and if you have a family. The more likely the chance that you’ll skip out on your court date, the higher your bail.
- The court should look at your financial situation. Bail should be a reasonable amount.
As we mentioned earlier, for some people, any amount of bail is too high. Some people just don’t have access to thousands of dollars. For these people, their only option is calling a bail bondsman.
How Can a Greenville, South Carolina Bail Bondsman Help?
If bail is too high, you may post bond. This means you’ll pay a portion of your bail to get out of jail. You’ll have to post a bond for the rest. This just means that you’ll offer the court collateral for the remaining amount. If you fail to show up for your court date, you surrender your deposit and the court takes your bond.
Many people don’t have the kind of assets required to post bond. This is when you call a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman in Greenville will post bond for you. But he doesn’t do this out of the goodness of his heart.
When You Ask a Bail Bondsman to Post Bond for You, a Few Things Happen.
- You (and usually 1-2 family members) sign a contract agreeing to pay back the bond if you don’t show up to court
- The bondsman will charge a fee for giving you the bond. This fee has to be paid either at the time he posts bond or as per an agreed upon payment plan.
- Your family members are co-signers. This means they’re responsible for the fee if you skip town.
- If you show up to court, the bail bondsman gets his money back from the court
Bail bondsman aren’t cheap. However, they may be the only thing that stands between you staying in jail or going home. You want to make sure you contact a reputable bail bondsman if you get into legal trouble. Your Greenville criminal lawyer will help you do this.
If you’re arrested, contact a bail bondsman in Greenville, South Carolina today.