|Truman Costello

Facing a Bail Charge

Navigating the criminal justice system can be daunting, especially when faced with the prospect of a bail charge. Whether you or a loved one is trying to understand how bail works, the steps involved in obtaining bail, and what options are available, this guide aims to demystify the process and offer crucial advice to help secure the best possible outcome.

What is Bail?

Bail is a set amount of money that acts as insurance between the court and the defendant. Essentially, bail allows someone charged with a crime the opportunity to remain free until the conclusion of their criminal case. Paying bail ensures that the defendant agrees to appear in court for all scheduled proceedings. Failure to comply can lead to additional charges and the forfeiture of the bail amount.

How is Bail Determined?

Bail amounts are not arbitrary; they are determined during a process called a bail hearing. Factors influencing bail include the severity of the charge, the defendant’s past criminal record, the risk of fleeing, and ties to the community. Courts aim to set a bail amount that is sufficient to ensure the defendant's return to court, without being oppressively excessive.

Types of Bail

  1. Cash Bail: The defendant pays the full amount in cash. If the defendant appears at all scheduled court dates, the bail is returned after the conclusion of the legal proceedings.

  2. Surety Bond: Also known as a bail bond, this involves a bail bond company paying the full bail amount on the defendant’s behalf, in exchange for a fee (usually about 10% of the bail amount) that the defendant pays.

  3. Property Bond: The court secures a lien on property valued at the full bail amount. If the defendant fails to meet the conditions of the bail, the court can foreclose on the property.

  4. Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.): In cases involving minor crimes and where the defendant is not considered a flight risk, the court may release the defendant without requiring bail but based on the promise to return for all court dates.

When arrested, it's crucial to understand that you have rights, including the right to an attorney. Consulting with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can significantly impact the bail process. An attorney can argue for a lower bail amount or for release on your own recognizance based on your specific circumstances.

What to Do if You Cannot Afford Bail?

If the bail set is beyond what you can afford, don’t lose hope. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer who can appeal the bail amount or request a bail review hearing. Additionally, bail bond services might be a viable option, though it's important to understand the financial implications fully.

Long-Term Implications of Bail

While securing bail can provide temporary freedom, it's essential to comply with all conditions set by the court. Failure to appear in court can lead to severe consequences, including additional charges that could affect future bail considerations.


Facing a bail charge can be stressful, but understanding your rights and options can ease the burden. A skilled criminal defense attorney is invaluable in navigating the complexities of bail law and can advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Remember, the goal is not just to secure bail but to address the underlying charges with as favorable an outcome as possible.

For individuals facing legal challenges, obtaining knowledgeable and compassionate legal representation is crucial. If you're in need of assistance with a bail-related issue or any other criminal defense matter, contact us today. Our experienced team is ready to provide the support and guidance you need to navigate through this challenging time.