This place doesn't feel like home

April 17, 2016

When your loved one is in jail, you probably go into mother hen mode and think of ways to get them out. You've probably heard on shows that posting bail is a very expensive, complicated process. Well guess what? It's not! Here's a cheat sheet of things you need to know about posting bail.

Depending on where you're arrested, you may need to wait to meet with a judge to set your bail amount, which could include spending a couple extra days in jail. Sometimes for the sake of simplicity, a bail amount is already set for you based on other common offenses.

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that "an excessive bail amount" will not be put on you. This means that your bail cannot be set at an abnormally high amount for the purposes of raising money or punishing you. The purpose of bail is not to be a punishment, it's to act as incentive to go to court at your designated time. Despite this rule, it is believed that many judges try to make the bail very high to prevent one from getting out of jail.

"So, how do I do it?" you ask? First of all, there are several different ways to post bail for yourself or a loved one.

– You can pay the full amount of the bail using cash or check.

– You can sign over property rights to the court that equals the bail amount.

– You can submit a bond, which is a promise to pay if one does not show up to court. The bond usually costs about 10% of the value of your bail amount, and is not refundable. Depending on the bail bondsman, you may have to give him/her interest in your car, house or land.

– You can submit a letter of recognizance. This option only works if you are trying to get yourself out of jail, as it is a personal statement. This option usually is not given to people, as it is one of the better options. In order to get released on your own recognizance, the judge must have reason to believe you are decently responsible, such as being involved in your community or not having a previous criminal record.

If your loved one goes through one of these ways to get released from jail, he/she may have to abide by certain conditions, such as not contacting a certain person or staying away from a business.

Always remember that bail is not your punishment; it is your promise that you will show up to court!

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