The bail system works by letting a criminal defendant out of jail in exchange for money or property that is held by the court until the criminal proceedings are finished. The money becomes a financial guarantee that the person will not flee the jurisdiction. If you leave town, the money is forfeited.
Once a suspect is arrested and booked, he or she will usually have a bond hearing. The judge or commissioner will determine the amount of bail based on factors such as the seriousness of the offense, the suspect’s ability to pay, previous criminal history, and a suspect’s ties to the community. A judge may also consider non-financial conditions of release. There are different types of bail.
Exactly as it sounds, the suspect pays the full amount of the bail, and the court holds the cash until the criminal proceeding ends. Payment can be made by cash, certified check, or money order. Credit and debit cards can also be used to pay, but the court usually charges a service fee.
Property in Maryland may be used to post bail as long as the net equity in the property meets or exceeds the amount of the bail. When posting property, you need to provide tax bills, assessment notices, and copies of a recorded deed. Each person whose name is on the tax bill must sign the bail form.
One of the most common forms of bail, surety bonds are helpful in cases where high bail amounts are set. A surety bond allows a surety (a bondsperson) to guarantee that you come to court. For example, if bail is set at $10,000, the suspect or his or her friend or family member can pay the bondsperson 10% or $1,000 to post the bond. The bondsperson must make sure that you appear in court to get the $10,000 back. The downside is that the bondsperson gets to keep the 10% that you paid.
RELEASE ON RECOGNIZANCE
In this case, a judge allows a suspect to be released without posting bail. This happens more frequently with less serious charges and in cases where the suspect has close ties to the community and is not a flight risk.
WHO CAN POST BAIL?
A suspect can post bail or have someone over 18 years old post it on the suspect’s behalf. As discussed above, a suspect can also use a professional bondsperson. Whoever posts bail assumes full responsibility for the suspect’s appearance in court.
If you’ve been arrested, you also need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, are here to provide you with the best defense possible. Contact us online or call as (301) 321-7277 to schedule your free consultation.