Understanding Bail And Pretrial Release In Criminal Defense
When facing criminal charges, the prospect of spending time behind bars can be daunting. However, the legal system provides options for individuals to secure their release before trial through bail and pretrial release programs. At HAWM Law, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys is dedicated to guiding clients through the intricacies of bail and pretrial release, ensuring they understand their options and can make informed decisions in building a robust defense.
The Basics of Bail
Bail, a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system, allows individuals to secure their release from custody while awaiting trial. It is essentially a financial guarantee that the defendant will appear in court as required. The court sets the bail amount based on various factors, including the severity of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, and the perceived flight risk.
There are three primary types of bail:
- Cash Bail:
- In this traditional form of bail, the defendant or their family pays the entire bail amount in cash. Once the case concludes, the money is returned, provided the defendant appears in court as required.
- Surety Bond:
- Many individuals turn to bail bond agencies for assistance. A surety bond involves a bail bondsman posting the full bail amount in exchange for a non-refundable fee, typically a percentage of the bail. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bondsman is responsible for the full bail amount.
- Property Bond:
- Instead of cash, a defendant may offer property as collateral for their release. This could include real estate or other valuable assets. If the defendant fails to appear, the court may seize the property to cover the bail amount.