Three Times You Should Wait To Pay Bail


When you're stuck in jail, your natural inclination is to bail out as quickly as possible, and there are numerous reasons why you should do so. However, here are three times when staying in jail, at least for a little while, may be the better option.

Wait Until Your Bail Hearing

Jails get crowded pretty quickly, so many cities use bail schedules to help expedite the release of eligible prisoners. A bail schedule is essentially a list of predetermined bail amounts arrestees need to pay to get released that are based on the crimes they committed. In Orange County, for example, the bail for carjacking is $100,000. If you pay that—or obtain a bond in that amount—you can get out of jail immediately.

Depending on the crime you're charged with, your personal circumstances, and other factors, it may be better to stay in jail and wait for your bail hearing before paying to get released. That's because it's possible you can get the judge to set bail at a lower amount than what's listed on the bail schedule. For instance, if you're a first-time offender and have strong ties to the community, the judge may even release you on your own recognizance, negating the need to pay bail at all.

It's a good idea to talk to a criminal defense attorney about the possibility of having your bail reduced at the bail hearing. Your lawyer can employ several strategies to lower or eliminate the amount required, which can be beneficial if you don't have any money.

Determine If Charges Will Be Filed

Another reason you want to hold off on paying bail is to see whether you'll actually be charged with a crime. It's pretty common for police to take suspects into custody. However, if the prosecutor doesn't press charges against the arrestee within a certain time period (usually 72 hours), the police must release the individual or risk violating the person's constitutional rights and being sued as a result.

Prosecutors will only file charges against suspects if they feel they have a good chance of winning in court. They will often bypass cases that don't have enough supporting evidence or simply aren't worth pursuing. Thus, it would be a complete waste of time and money bailing out jail only to find the prosecutor has no plans to come after you.

If you can wait, stay put for the requisite number of days to see whether charges will actually be filed. You may find yourself being released without having to pay anything. Be aware, though, the prosecutor can still file charges at a later date up until the day the statute of limitations for the crime passes, so it's still a good idea to find an attorney to represent you just in case you are called back to court.

Earn Credit for Time Served

When sentencing defendants to jail time, a common practice among judges is to give credit for the amount of days those defendants have already spent behind bars. If you were in jail for 30 days and the judge sentences you to one-year jail time, he or she will usually credit you those thirty days so you only actually have to serve 11 more months.

If you know for certain your punishment will include a jail or prison, it may be prudent to save the money you would've spent on bail and stay in jail earning credit that can be applied to your sentence. This way, you may get out of jail a little earlier and you'll keep some cash in your pocket.

Not everyone has the luxury of remaining in jail, and as noted previously, there are a variety of good reasons to bai yourself out as soon as possible. If you choose to get released early, contact a local bail bondsman for help paying your bail.


12 December 2018

Borrowing What You Need

When it comes to borrowing cash for a new house or a nice car, how much money do you really need? Although you might be tempted to mortgage yourself to the brim or borrow a little more than you should, the fact of the matter is that everyone has financial limits. My blog discusses the impact of borrowing more than you need, so that you can make smarter decisions with your money. In addition to keeping you out of trouble, this valuable information might also improve your quality of life and protect your financial future. You never know, it could make all the difference.