In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What “bail” and “bond” mean
- How bail and bond work with being released from custody after being arrested
- What to do and what not to do if you’ve been bailed or bonded out and are awaiting trial
- What you should expect if you get arrested while out on bond
There is a very specific set of responsibilities you have to fulfill when you get arrested and released on bail or bond. What’s the difference between bail and bond? What do you have to do to prevent your bail from being revoked? What happens if the worst case scenario occurs and you’re arrested while out on bond?
Below are the answers to some of your most pressing questions about the process of making bail, and what will happen in a variety of possible related situations.
What Is Bail?
Any time you get arrested, no matter the charges, you have to appear in front of a judge for a hearing that ultimately sets your bail. Bail effectively serves as an insurance policy for your attendance at trial, because if you don’t show up, you won’t be repaid the bail money.
The amount that the court sets for your bail is decided entirely based on the specifics of the case. The court has to decide whether you should be deemed a flight risk or not as well as consider the details of the crime and whether or not you’ll be a danger to the community if you’re released on bail.
In some cases, the defendant may decide to appeal the bail amount because they feel that the amount is unfair. The court has the discretion to reconsider the amount of the bail or even whether or not bail is set. For the most severe crimes, the court will usually not set bail.
The terms of your bail are very specific responsibilities that you must fulfill, or face the consequences. We’ll discuss this in greater depth shortly.
What Is Bond?
There are businesses that work in conjunction with the court called “bail bond agencies,” or “bondsmen.” You pay a bail bondsmen 10-15 percent of the bail amount, either in standard payment options or by offering collateral — valuable possessions, your home, your car, etc. — in order for the agency to write up a bond. This is a document that verifies to the court that the agency is covering your bail and will make sure you show up in court.
These agencies are very motivated to get you to your hearings because if they don’t, they’re responsible for paying the entirety of your bail to the court. Some have been known to use unethical tactics to ensure that defendants make their court dates.
When you’re released from custody on bond, through a process known as “bonding out”, you’ll have to meet the terms of your bond or face the prospect of having your bond revoked.
Violating the Terms of Your Bond
You will most likely be held to certain conditions when bonding out. For example, if your crime involved a victim, you may be instructed not to contact or get near the victim before your hearings begin. Breaking the conditions of your release on bail may result in bail being revoked. This means you will be forced to return to jail, at least until your trial concludes and your fate is decided.
There are a few cases in which bail is likely to be revoked:
- You are arrested or convicted for an additional charge
- You violate the terms of your bail
- You face charges for a crime other than the one you’re put out on bond for
Bond often comes with a list of terms that you must obey in order to stay out of jail in the time leading up to your appearance in court.
For example, imagine you’re accused of assault and taken to jail on these charges. For a first-offense assault, you’ll likely be given a bail set by the court. If you meet bail, or use a bail bond to secure your release, the court may also set out additional guidelines for you to follow. You may not be allowed to leave your home, for example, or to get near the victim. Breaking this agreement will likely result in the revocation of the bond.
The same goes for being arrested for something else while you’re out on bond. You’ll be taken back to jail and wait for a bail to be set for your new charge. In the meantime, the bond for your current charge will likely be revoked.
How Is Bail Revoked?
What happens when a court revokes your bail for any reason? The process involves a separate hearing called a Revocation Hearing.
The state compiles documents supporting their claim that your bail should be modified or revoked, which are served to all parties, including a bondsman if one was used in making bail. A judge will review the motion and rule on whether or not the state’s claim is valid and whether to honor the request.
You are given the opportunity to dispute the claim with a motion to reconsider the revocation. In most cases, you’ll lose the money and/or property that was put up to meet the bond amount, and the bondsman will be forced to cover the amount of your bail.
What Should You Do?
If you make a mistake and get arrested while out on bond, it can be a costly error. The most important thing you can do in the short term is find experienced legal representation to advise you as you navigate a revocation hearing as well as stay within the terms of your bond.
At the Kent Collins Law Firm, we have the experience and to be your guide through all your legal challenges. Give us a call at 803-808-0905. You can also fill out our online contact form, and we’ll be in touch with you.