If you’ve ever had a family member call and ask you to bail them out of jail, you know that it can be a confusing process if you have no idea what to expect. The biggest misconception is the difference between bail and a bond and how that may affect your finances if you provide the money. Here are some key differences between the two options for getting your loved one out of jail.
What Happens When Someone Is Arrested?
When someone gets arrested, the police take them to jail and book them for their crime. If the offense is minor, there may already be a set amount that you can pay for their release from jail until the court date. For more serious crimes, you have to wait for bail to be set by a judge, either at a bail hearing or an arraignment. Once bail has been determined, you can pay the full fee or use bail bonds Scranton PA.
What Exactly Is Bail?
Bail is the total amount of money that the court requires for your friend’s release. Sometimes this amount is a few hundred dollars, but serious crimes see bail amounts in the thousands or millions of dollars. You have the choice of paying the entire bail amount if you choose to. If you pay the full fee, the money gets returned to you, minus a processing fee, as long as the defendant shows up for every court appointment.
When Is Bond a Better Choice?
If the bail is set for an amount that is more than you can afford, you have the option of meeting with a bail bondsman. These companies are able to help you by offering a loan to cover the amount of bail. These loans, called bonds, are secured by collateral and often require you pay 10% of the bail amount. This money is not returned to you after the case is complete, but your collateral is returned as long as your family member doesn’t miss any court appearances.