Getting Out of Jail on Bail After an Arrest

If you have been arrested and put in jail, your first thought is probably how you can get out. The most common way is posting bail, which is generally cash, a bond or property that is given to the court to ensure you will appear at a later date to face the charges against you. If you fail to show up, the bail is forfeited and an arrest warrant is issued.

The person responsible for setting bail is the judge. For many common crimes, there is a standard bail schedule that specifies the amount necessary to get out of jail and by paying that amount, you can be released fairly quickly without having to appear before a judge.

If you cannot afford the bail amount, you can ask the judge to reduce it when you appear in court for the first time. The Constitution requires that bail should not be excessive, but sometimes judges will set a higher bail amount to keep a suspect in jail until trial. This is why the help of an experienced criminal law attorney is important to obtain as soon as you are arrested.

Types of Bail

There are four types of bail, including:

  • Cash/check for the full amount
  • Property worth the full amount
  • Bond, which is a guaranteed payment of the full amount
  • Waiver of payment on condition of appearance, which is also known as being “released on your own recognizance,” or “O.R.”

A bond is typically 10% of the full bail amount and is purchased from a bail bondsman. If you can afford it, paying the full amount via cash or property is generally preferable, since that amount will be refunded to you, minus a small administrative fee, once your case is over. The bond seller’s fee is not refundable, and the bond seller typically requires that you provide collateral to guarantee the full amount of the bail. If you fail to appear, your property or cash belongs to the bond seller.

Defendants who qualify for O.R. typically have strong community ties, so there is little likelihood they will flee. If you qualify, you will only need to sign a statement promising to appear in court and will not have to post any bail.

Whether you are facing a serious federal white-collar prosecution, a state murder charge, or misdemeanor charges, The Cogdell Law Firm has the experience, knowledge and reputation you want for your legal team. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or