What Happens When You Can’t Afford Bail?

Bailing yourself out of jail is not as easy as it sounds. There are many things that the court has to consider to decide your bail amount and the conditions. In case of getting out on your own recognizance (O.R.), you have to prove your trustworthiness to the court. You can know more about all this on the Bail Reform Act as stated by the law. While the process of getting bail is complicated, you can read out the following article to understand it better.

Let us understand the whole process of getting out of jail on bail:-

  • A defendant is a person who wants to get out on bail. He or she will get information on the schedule of the pre-decided court hearings
  • The judge decides the amount of bail on the initial court hearing according to the affordability of the defendant and their previous criminal records.
  • In case the defendant or any of their family members do not have enough money for the bail, they can access the services of a bail bondsman or agent who will pay on their behalf as a kind of loan.
  • After paying the bail, the defendant is free to go out with some conditions. They have to appear for all the court hearings strictly. If he or she does not follow any of the conditions, the court may cancel the bail. 

Any failure in following the defendant’s rules will result in the release of an arrest warrant or a fine by the court.

What if you can’t afford bail?

When you or your family members cannot afford the bail amount set by the court, you have three options with you.

  • If the bail amount is higher than what you or your family can afford, you may request the court to lower it. It would also require the court to have access to your previous criminal record and family background. 
  • Another option is that you can take help from a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman pays a specific percentage of bail to be paid as a loan to you, and you have to pay him back in installments with interest. 
  • You may even get out of jail for free on O.R. Getting out on your own recognizance is only possible when the judge is confident that you won’t flee the law. In this case, you will need to prove your trustworthiness to the court based on your criminal records. You can get out on O.R. by signing a promissory note that you would come back to the court.

The procedure to get bail is complicated and involves a lot of discussion in the court. The judge handling your case decides everything from the amount of bail to the number of hearings you will need to face. If you are getting out of jail on bail, make sure to follow all the conditions stated by the court strictly Else you may get arrested once again on account of breaking the law.