If arrested for even a relatively minor charge, you might have to spend time in jail unless you can make the bail set by the judge. Bail involves your promise to the court to appear for trial if you are freed. The promise is backed by money you or your family agrees to pay if you fail to return for trial.
You do not have an automatic right to bail. The US. Constitution requires only that if a court sets bail, it cannot do so in such a large amount that it is the same as not setting bail at all. Federal and state laws provide for bail for most crimes. Check with a lawyer to learn what bail rights you and your family have in your state.
When you make a plea to charges against you, the judge may release you without bail “on your own recognizance” if satisfied that you will not run away. Holding a steady job, living
In the community a long time, being active in church or civic affairs, and having good family relationships will usually satisfy a judge that you will return for trial.
Bail bonds – If you have recently moved, lost your job, have no family, or have a criminal record, you might have to post bail. If bail is set at $5,000, for example, you must pay $5,000 in cash to the designated officer. Should you be short of cash, a bail bondsman will provide the money for a fee (typically 10 percent of the bail). The bondsman will require collateral (valuables that can be sold) or promises by you or your family to pay if you fail to appear for trial.
Once you make bail, the court sends your jailer a receipt, or bail ticket. You receive an appearance ticket with the time and place of trial. You are free to go, but bail can be revoked and you can be returned to jail if you are arrested on other charges before your trial.
When you appear for trial, any cash or collateral posted is returned. If you jump bail (run away), the judge issues a warrant for your arrest on the new charge of bail jumping, and you lose any money or collateral posted. If, however, you have a good reason for not appearing, such as illness, tell the judge in order to avoid the new charges or the loss of your property.