When someone gets arrested because they are suspected of having committed a felony, and they have to wait for a court hearing, they sometimes have the possibility of being released on bail. But what exactly does that entail? Things are different according to the laws of each state and the severity of the suspected felony. Today, we are going to explore how the bail system works, what you can expect if you have the possibility of being released on bail after getting arrested because of a DUI, and how bonds and bondsmen work.
What Is Bail and How Does It Work?
Once you’ve been arrested, it is obvious that you would prefer the option of getting out until your trial. But the authorities also feel like they need a guarantee that you will show up at that time. And that is why they set bail. Bail is a set amount of money that you have to pay for your release. If you later show up at all stages of your trial, the money will be returned to you. If not, you will lose that amount, and also risk going back to jail.
The decisions of getting the option of a bail or not, and the amount of it, are dependent on factors such as your DUI record, your driving history, the seriousness of the offense, or your family and community ties.
How Do You Pay It?
You have two options. You either pay it by yourself with cash or other assets, or you can hire a commercial bail bonding agency, if you do not have the necessary amount of money. The agency will provide you with a bondsman that will act in your behalf and pay the bail. The term bond comes from the fact that only a small amount of the bail will be paid, leaving the rest up to the agency, in case you don’t show up for trial. Bondsmen will also charge you a nonrefundable fee of around 10% of the amount of the bail.
What Do Bail Bondsmen Do?
First of all, they take the responsibility of paying the full amount of the bail if you fail to come to trial. Second, they are responsible for you showing up to court when your hearing is scheduled. The job of a bondsman is to take security against your assets and make you are able to cover the cost of the bail. If you are not, they might ask relatives or friends to assist you. Sometimes, the bondman can ask for a mortgage on the accused’s home in addition to that 10% fee, to guarantee that the full amount will be paid.
In case you do not go to trial when scheduled, the bondsman has several options. First, he can hire a bounty hunter that will track you down. He can also sue you for the money he paid on your behalf. Another option would be to claim the assets that have been taken as security, either from you or the people who helped you.
Bail and DUI – The Basics
How Much Does a DUI Bail Cost?
This is one of the most frequently asked question when concerning DUI charges. The answer is that there is no fixed amount of money that has to be paid on the entire United States territory. These kinds of issues often depend heavily on state laws.
But there are some general rules that can be applied no matter in which state you got arrested because of a DUI. For instance, the amount of money you have to pay depends on the severity of the incident. If you did not get into an accident, or if no one was actually injured, the price of the bail is not that high. In general, for a first offense DUI, the bail can range from $200 to $1000. So, if you do decide to use a bail bonding agency, you will only have to pay that 10% fee to the bondsman, which means you will only pay $100 for a $1000 bail.
Conditions for DUI Bail Bonds
Even after you have paid the required fee to the bondsman, it is important to know that in many states, you are also required to conform to some other special conditions, which can also be costly. For instance, one of the most common ones is that you have to install an ignition interlock device on any car you want to drive. This can cost you between $80 to $200 a month.
While your DUI is pending, sometimes you have to have monthly drug and alcohol screenings, which can cost you between $30 and $50 each month. Every court can come up with their own special conditions to make sure you keep your end of the bargain when it comes to your DUI offense. For instance, some of them prohibit you from driving a vehicle while out on bond. You might even be required to attend drug and alcohol counseling.
No Private Bail Bondsman System
There are a number of states in the United States that have eliminated the private bail bondsman system. These are: Massachusetts, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Maine, Oregon, Nebraska, and Washington, D.C. But what is there to do in this case? Well, usually either you or a member of your family will have to pay the amount of the bond in order for you to get out of jail. This decision was taken in order to eliminate the middle man and reduce costs for the accused. Also, there is concern of abuses coming from bounty hunters and the private bail bondsman system.
Summing It All Up
People who have been arrested because of a DUI certainly have the possibility to be released by paying a sum of money, as long as the offense is a minor one. Whether you decide to pay the amount of the bond yourself, or to hire a bondsman, as long as you stick to your part of the deal and go to trial, paying the bail is clearly the best option. All you have to do is weight all the pros and cons of both possibilities and decide which one suits you best.