Are you or a loved one currently facing legal trouble in Raleigh, North Carolina?
Getting arrested and placed in custody is a daunting experience.
There are probably many questions running through your head. And, more specifically, you may be wondering about whether or not you can post bail.
What is bail, anyway, and how does bail work?
In this article, we’ll cover everything there is to know about bail bonds in Raleigh, NC. That way, you or your loved one can get out of custody and prepare the best defense leading up to trial.
What Is Bail & How Does Bail Work?
A bail bond is a set amount that a person must pay to get themselves or someone they know out of jail.
By setting bail, a defendant can leave the confines of jail and actively work on making his or her defense. A magistrate will set the bail amount within 48 hours of the arrest. The magistrate will also establish a set of conditions that apply to a defendant’s release.
In all cases, paying bail ensures that the defendant will appear in court as scheduled. A defendant must adhere to this written promise. They must do so from the time of release until their court appearance.
The defendant themselves can post bail themselves in the form of cash. They can also arrange for a bond through a bail bonds company.
Friends or relatives of the defendant can post bail at the jail or courthouse, as well. They can do so with cash or they can purchase a bond from a bail bonds company.
Factors That Influence Bail Amount
The bail amount normally depends on the seriousness of the charged crime. However, there are other factors that influence bail amount.
The defendant’s past criminal record, for example, can influence the bail amount. If he or she has an extensive criminal background, the magistrate may set a higher bail.
In some cases, the magistrate may deny bail altogether. The magistrate will likely not approve bail if the defendant has a warrant from a previous jurisdiction. Magistrates can also deny bail to those who are likely to flee before the case concludes.
There are jailhouse bail schedules for common crimes. An arrested defendant can pay the jailhouse scheduled bail and obtain release immediately.
Scheduled bail amounts for felonies are significantly higher than misdemeanors. If a defendant wants to contest and lower the bail amount, they will have to appear before a judge.
Types of Bonds
If the magistrate sets a cash bond, you can either pay it in the form of cash or a check. However, this is not the most common type of bond.
A secured bond is the most common. The defendant or someone they know would pay the bond in cash through a bail bond company. In some cases, they can also pay using collateral, such as real estate.
There are also unsecured bonds. With this type of bond, you don’t have to pay the bond to get released from jail.
However, you must appear in court as scheduled. If you do not adhere to this, you will receive a judgment set at the same amount as the unsecured bond. If you get arrested again, this amount will be set much higher.
Is It Possible to Reduce the Bail Amount?
After bail is set, it is possible to file a motion to modify the bond and have the amount reduced. To do so, a defendant would have to appear and file a motion before a judge, not a magistrate.
If you wish to modify the bond, you may want to hire a criminal defense attorney to be present. The judge not only has the power to set a higher bail amount. The prosecutor may also request to increase the bail amount.
What Does a Bail Bondsman Do?
Are you unable to pay bail in full? How do you go about choosing a bail bonds company?
Upon examination of the case, a bail bondsman may provide a bail bond in order to get the defendant released. The defendant will then sign a contract with the bail bondsman and pay a bail fee.
This bail fee is generally 10-15% of the bail amount. It serves as payment to the bail bondsman and is non-refundable.
Choose a bail bonds agency with not only a good reputation, but a licensed one.
You also want a company that offers round-the-clock services. Arrests can happen in the middle of the night, and you want a reliable bail bonds company who will be by your side.
You also want to look for a company that provides reasonable down payment rates. A 2% down payment rate is reasonable in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. It may also be in your interest to find a bilingual bail bondsman who speaks and understands Spanish.
Conditions of a Bail Bond
A bail bondsman may request that the defendant temporarily surrender collateral. Property owned by the defendant or a vehicle title is the most common types of collateral.
The bail bondsman cannot treat this collateral as his own property. They can’t do so unless the defendant flees or misses a court appearance.
Bail companies usually ask defendants to sign a promissory note. They will do this if the defendant has a history of missing court dates or is at risk of fleeing.
Defendants are not guaranteed a right to obtain bail bonds. A bail bondsman can deem a defendant too risky to take on.
What Happens If You Violate the Terms of Bail?
If the defendant violates the terms of his or her bail, the court will not only revoke it.
In most cases, the court will issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. Then, the defendant may have to remain in jail until trial. In other cases, the court may set bail at a higher amount than before.
Do You Need Bail Bonds in Raleigh, NC?
Getting released from jail is an important first step after getting arrested. If you or someone you know needs to post bail, going through a bail bonds agency may be the best option for you.
For more information about bail bonds in Raleigh, NC, contact us today!