If you are arrested for a crime you are put in jail until you appear in front of a judge. But in most cases you can avoid having to stay in jail until your court appearance by promising to appear in court when you are supposed to and by paying money known as bail. When you pay the bail you are released from jail. If you show up at your court appearance then that money is returned to you. It’s essentially a deposit that you put down to ensure that you come back when you’re supposed to.
In order to make the process of getting out of jail faster and to avoid clogging the court system with hearings in front of judges to determine the amount of bail most places have now have a set fee schedule for bail that is based on the crime you were arrested for. As long as there are no extenuating circumstances in your case you can usually bail out of jail pretty quickly by paying the standard amount of bail. For most crimes the amount of bail ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
If your crime was not serious or if you don’t have any previous arrests you can ask to appear in front of a judge for a bail hearing and you can make a case to the judge to see if the judge will let you out of jail without charging bail. You will need to agree to a set of conditions if the judge allows this. But you will also need to wait in jail for your chance to appear in front of the judge, so most of the time people pay the bail set that is standard for the crime they are arrested for in order to get out of jail faster.
If you want to get out of jail as quickly as you can but the bail amount is very high, or if you don’t have the money to pay the bail you can get a bail bond so that you can get out of jail immediately. A bail bond works in a similar way to a loan. A bail bond company will pay the money for your bail amount but will charge a fee for this service, usually 10% of the amount of the bail. If you go to court when you are required to the bail money will be returned to the bail bond company. If you don’t return to court the bail money is kept by the court and you will owe the bail bond company the entire amount of the bail plus the fee. Bail bond companies are legally allowed to pursue and arrest you in that case, so trying to skip out and avoid your court dates can end up costing you more than you think.
A bail bond isn’t that much different than a traditional loan and it allows you to get out of jail fast to take care of your family, start preparing for your defense, and take care of any obligations that you have.