Understanding the Bail Process

bail, money, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyYou probably have heard the terms “bail” and “bond” used interchangeably related to the arrest of an individual. It may have been a friend, family member, or even a celebrity, but it is not uncommon to hear or read that a person has been “bailed out of jail” or has “posted bond.” Although the terms are related, they do not mean exactly the same thing and understanding the difference may be helpful if you are ever confronted with such situation.

What is Bail?

If you have been arrested on criminal charges, you are entitled by law and the Constitution to a trial. Due to scheduling and backlogs, however, there may be a significant amount of time between the arrest and your required appearance in court. To ensure that you appear when scheduled, the court has three basic options:

  • Release you on your own recognizance: It has been determined that you can be trusted to appear when ordered without additional action;
  • Hold you without bail: Allegations of certain crimes are deemed serious enough that bail is denied, or, in capital cases, you have been deemed a danger to the community; or
  • Set bail for your conditional release: You are required to give the court financial or property security that you will appear as ordered.

Bail is a form of collateral that you must give the court as a means of guaranteeing your appearance at trial. It may be paid in the form of cash or property, which is forfeited to the court in the event you fail to appear. When you do appear, previously paid bail will be returned to you minus administrative fees.

Bail Bonds

The amount of required bail set by the judge may be far more than you can afford to pay in cash or liquid assets. In such a situation, you may consider a bail bond. A bail bond is an arrangement in which security is established with a 10 percent initial payment and a guarantee to pay the full bail amount with interest should you fail to appear. Other states allow commercial entities, or “bail bondsmen,” to sell and enforce bail bonds, but it is extremely important to recognize that Illinois does not permit the commercial sale of bail bonds.

Bail bond arrangements are permitted, and may be established with a 10 percent deposit, but the entire bond process is handled by the court. As opposed to posting the full amount of bail, your bond with the state allows you to create an agreement with the court that, should you fail to a appear, a judgment or order will be entered against you for the full amount of bail.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, understanding the bail process is only the beginning. Fortunately, an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney is equipped to help you throughout every step of your case. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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