Being charged with a crime and arrested is, as you might expect, extremely disruptive to your personal and professional life. Besides the situation itself potentially leaving a mark on your reputation among peers, there’s a good chance you may have to spend some period of time in jail before you’ve even been tried or convicted of a crime. How much time this may be depends on numerous factors, but in some cases, you could spend up to 72 hours before appearing before a judge.
Many people can’t afford to wait this long to return to the needs of their families and careers, and if you’ve been charged and held without probable cause, you may face unnecessary losses in these areas of life. This is the purpose served by bail: to provide you with a way to leave jail and continue going about your business while making time for court appearances. Bail allows you to do this for a fee determined by a judge.
While bail clearly serves a beneficial purpose, it isn’t a perfect get-out-of-jail card for everyone. Depending on the nature of your criminal charges and the determination of the judge, the posted bail amount you may have to pay to return home could be as much as tens of thousands of dollars. Still, it’s important to understand it as an option for preserving as much of your freedom as possible.
What is bail?
As mentioned previously, bail is the amount of money required to allow you to leave jail after you’ve been arrested. There isn’t a singular set amount for anyone who’s arrested or charged with a specific category of crime. Instead, an array of factors are taken into account to settle on a number for securing your pretrial release, including some obvious ones like the crimes you were charged with and any past convictions on your record, as well as others such as your likelihood of being a flight risk.
It’s important to emphasize the definition of bail as “securing your pretrial release.” It isn’t a way of getting the court to drop your case or resolve your charges; it just allows you to be able to return home for the rest of the process instead of continuing to sit in jail while waiting to appear before a judge and begin your trial.
There are conditions to be aware of once you’re released on bail to ensure that you don’t end up adding to your charges and landing in even more legal trouble. Some of these will be specific to your circumstances as determined by a judge, but generally, they also include:
Avoiding continued criminal activity
Avoiding communication or contact with the alleged victim
Paying your bail amount
Bail serves a great purpose for helping to preserve your freedom as much as possible while trying to resolve criminal charges filed against you, but it isn’t one that’s easily accessible for everyone.
In quite a few cases, bail can be set to an amount too high for a defendant to possibly pay on their own, though some bail bondsman services offer to help post bail as part of a contract with you. Be careful with this kind of service, as it often means offering assets like a vehicle or home as a security, which a bail bondsman can place a lien against in situations like skipping bail.
Alternatively, friends and family may be willing to help pitch in to pay the amount. While bail certainly can be unaffordably expensive, there’s a good chance it won’t be for many minor crimes, particularly if you don’t have a criminal record to speak of. Even if posting the amount is prohibitively expensive for you, it may be much less so with the help of people who know you and are willing to contribute.
Learn everything you need to know about resolving your criminal charges with Candela Law Firm
When you need a Tampa criminal defense lawyer to help walk you through bail or any other aspect of your criminal case, Candela Law Firm can help. Get a free consultation now to find out more about how we can help you and work with the specific circumstances of your case.