Every year in North Carolina, more than 128,000 people are booked into local jails. If the police charge you or a loved one with a crime, this can be an extremely stressful time.
Thankfully, they may not have to stay in jail while awaiting trial. If you are able to cover the cost of their bail, they are legally allowed to return home.
So how does bail work, and what are the ways that you can pay for bail in Raleigh? Read on to find out more.
What is Bail?
Bail is a type of legal and financial contract that is made when after the police have arrested someone. It is a way of releasing that person from jail while they await their trial or sentencing.
In exchange for their release, you have to first arrange bail. This means matching the amount set out by a judge in the form of cash, a bail bond, or property.
Essentially, you offer this up as collateral to guarantee that the person charged will appear in court. If you post bail and the defendant doesn’t turn up to their court appearance, the court gets to keep the bail.
A judge is responsible for setting bail and this usually depends on their assessment of three things:
- The severity of the crime in question
- Whether or not the person in question poses a danger to those around them
- Whether or not the person in question is a flight risk (likely to flee before their court date)
Once a judge has set bail it either needs to be met or appealed before the police can release a defendant.
Conditions of Bail
The conditions of bail (or conditions of release) are also set by the judge. Generally, these outline that the suspect should not leave a certain area. Some bail conditions will be more specific than others.
For example, if someone is arrested on a domestic violence charge, the judge may impose a no-contact rule. This means that the suspect should not contact the victim involved in the crime.
In some cases, defendants may have to hand their passports over to the court as part of their conditions of release.
If you or your loved one breaks the conditions of bail, the judge will issue a warrant for rearrest and will revoke bail. If a judge revokes bail they are unlikely to grant it a second time.
How to Pay for Bail
There are a number of ways that you can pay for bail. This generally involves putting up enough capital to cover the cost of bail. You can do this using:
- Cash or a cheque that covers the full amount of the bail set by the judge
- Property that is worth the full amount of the bail as collateral
- A bail bond that guarantees the full payment of bail if a defendant doesn’t show up to court
- A waiver payment that the defendant will appear in court when they should (O.R. release)
A bail bond in Raleigh, is a way of helping you make bail if you don’t have the funds immediately available. To use a bail bond, you only need to cover 15% of the cost of the bail. Some plans also let you cover the cost of bail by paying in installments.
However, it is important that the defendant appears in court when they should. If they don’t, you will end up having to pay the bail bond seller the full bail price plus administrative fees.
Getting Out Without Paying Bail
In some cases, you may not have to arrange bail in order to get out of jail. For this to happen, the defendant must sign a document promising to turn up in court on the given date. This is a legally binding document and can result in further penalties if they break it.
This is also known as “release on their own recognize” or “O.R. release”. A judge will accept or deny applications for O.R. release. In most cases, they will look favorably on a case if the defendant:
- Has family members living in the local community
- Has been a member of the local community for many years
- Has a steady job
- Does not have a criminal record or has a minor criminal record from years ago
- Can provide evidence of times that they have appeared in court on time in the past
Even if these points do not help you get O.R. release for your loved one, they can help to arrange lower bail. This can really help if you are struggling to pay for bail in Raleigh.
What to Do If Bail Seems Excessive
Before you pay for bail in Raleigh, it is important to question whether or not the amount set by the judge is fair.
As previously mentioned, this will often depend on the severity of the crime. In some cases, judges will set bail that is impossibly hard to meet in order to keep a suspect in jail.
However, the Eighth Amendment outlines that bail should not be excessive, as it is not part of a defendant’s punishment. In fact, bail is in place specifically to ensure that a person can leave jail until their trial.
This means that setting impossibly high bail is unconstitutional and you can appeal this if you want to. You may wish to seek legal assistance when doing this.
If you appeal to lower bail, you will need to present evidence to support the fact that a defendant will not flee before their trial. You should also emphasize evidence that speaks for their character to show they will not be a danger to the community.
Get Help With Bail Bonds in Raleigh Today!
If you or one of your loved ones is currently in jail awaiting trial, you can arrange bail to get them out. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can do this, even if you don’t have a lot of cash going spare.
If you are struggling to pay for bail in Raleigh, get in touch today. We’re here to help!