What happens when you can’t pay bail?

Person in Jail who cannot pay bail

Post Incarceration

After being arrested and incarcerated, you think how and what do you need to do to get released. Posting bail is how this is accomplished, and hopefully, you haven’t been arrested on a Friday or a holiday. If it is a Friday or holiday, a judge will establish it the next business day, with the exception that some jurisdictions have a standard bail schedule for certain crimes.

In rare occasions, on a holiday or weekend, or off-hours for court, a bail commissioner who has been given powers of a judge in bail setting can hold an emergency bail hearing and set bail for the accused. 

How long do you stay in jail if you can’t make bail?

The bail process seems to take a long time when you’re behind bars waiting. In most cases, it takes a bail bond company several hours to turn the bond over to the jail, and then a few more hours as the jail processes the bond. All of this only gets started after you have posted bail for a bond.

There are some bail bond agencies that offer an emergency bail to speed up the process of the arrest to be released from jail. An emergency bail is basically the bail bond agency paying the bail for you, trusting that you will be forthcoming in repaying the bail and not skipping out. For a first-time offender, emergency bail is usually easy to gain.

Can you bail someone out with no money?

Once you’ve been arrested, you’ll see the judge who will set your bond that will get you out of jail until your court date. If you can’t afford the amount of bail required by the court, you have the option of turning over real property valued at the amount as collateral. If you have nothing to offer as collateral, the judge may consider releasing you on your own recognizances, a PR bond, or a Signature Bond. The following explains each of those: 

Your Own Recognizance 

The judge will consider the following factors before determining if you can be released on your own recognizance:

  • Are you a flight risk?
  • Are you a threat to yourself or others?
  • The seriousness of your crime
  • Your criminal background

A Signature Bond 

When a judge deems that you do not appear to be a flight risk, your attorney can negotiate a signature bond, which is similar to an Own Recognizance bond but doesn’t require a co-signer or any payment.

PR Bond 

If you have a non-violent criminal history, a judge could issue a PR bond to release you from jail. This will come with some stipulations, like attending classes associated with the crime you’ve been accused of or attending therapy. These stipulations must be adhered to in order to avoid going back to jail. 

What If Those Options Aren’t Possible? 

If the judge doesn’t feel that any of these methods of bond are acceptable, there are bail bond agencies that have their own programs and may work with you in filing an emergency bail. As we mentioned earlier, the bail bondsman will trust you to repay the bail and show up for your court date.

Do all bail bonds require collateral?

The traditional amount a bondsman charges is 150% of the bond. There are exceptions to this and is up to the decision of each bail bond agency. The 150% is charged by many bail bondsmen is collateral equal to the amount of the bond and, sometimes, exceeds the amount.

While these companies are in the business of post bonds for the accused, they understand that cash is not always accessible for most of us. There are bail bond agencies that will loan the money for the bond, or work with loan companies that provide emergency loans for bail. A family member or friend would need to complete and emergency bail application.

handcuffed person

What can you use as collateral for bail?

After a person is arrested and bond has been, the accused, a family member or friend can post bail so the accused can be released from jail until their court date. Few people have the resources to pay that bond and require the services of a bail bondsman, somebody that makes a living co-signing a bond.

Another option for and the emergency bailout is to provide collateral of value that is equal or more than the bond. There are five things that are most used as collateral:

A Vehicle of Value

A vehicle can be offered as collateral, from a car, an SUV or a truck is of value can be used bond security. Other vehicles that offer enough value for bond security are all-terrain vehicles, boats, campers, motorcycles, motor homes, snowmobiles, or trailers. If the accused does not show up for appointed court date and forfeits their bond, they forfeit ownership of the vehicle used as collateral. The vehicle is kept until the court has released the accused. 

Real Estate

Type of real estate that can be used a bond collateral can be a house, any viable structure, land, or natural resources found on the land such as crops, livestock, minerals, water. Even if the property is not paid in full, if there is adequate equity to match the bond, you can use it as collateral. 

Items Worth Pawning

Taking items of value and pawing is another option for getting funds for posting bail. Computers, firearms, game systems, jewelry, stereos, televisions, etc. As with anytime that you pawn items for cash, they need to be in good condition to get enough for the bail. 

Jewelry and/or Other Precious Metals

Gold, silver or other precious metals, valuable stones such as diamond, emerald, ruby, or sapphire, that of significant value in terms of cash. The bail bond agency will have the piece(s) appraised for value on the current market to determine the collateral value. 

Savings Accounts and Investments

You can use a savings account with enough to match the bail as collateral or any valuable investment. Investments that can be included in this would be stocks & bonds or certificates of deposit. 

Keep in mind when deciding how to get funds for an emergency bail by arranging collateral for the bail, the accused must attend all court proceedings and follow the courts instructions on all matters in order to get the collateral back. Depending on the charges, the process can take a few weeks, a few months, even a year. Need help from a bondsman in St. Petersburg, FL? Call Al Estes Bail Bonds at 727-571-9999!