A person could be held in custody until their court date if they cannot pay their bond. In some circumstances, the defendant or a co-signer might be allowed to set up a payment plan or ask for a bond amount reduction. Non-profit groups may also help with bail payments in some jurisdictions. The bond may be forfeited, and an arrest warrant may be issued if the defendant misses their court appearance. The jurisdiction and facts of the case will determine the specific repercussions of failing to pay a bond.
If a bond can’t be paid, the defendant must stay in jail until their court date. This can have several repercussions:
- Detainment: As mentioned, the immediate consequence is that the person will remain in jail. This period can vary from days to months, depending on when the court date is scheduled.
- Employment: Being in jail can impact a person’s employment status. They may lose their job if they cannot work during this time.
- Family Obligations: It could also affect family life. For example, if the person has children or dependents they take care of, arrangements would need to be made for their care.
- Legal Representation: Being in jail can also make it more challenging to participate actively in one’s defense, as access to one’s lawyer is more limited.
Some alternatives to paying the full bail amount:
- Bail Bonds: A bail bond agent can post bail on behalf of the defendant. Usually, the defendant or their family pays a percentage of the bail (often 10-15%) to the bail bondsman, and the bondsman guarantees the rest to the court.
- Release on Own Recognizance (ROR): For less serious offenses, or if the defendant has a good record of appearing in court, the judge may release the defendant on their own recognizance, which means they’re released without paying bail.
- Property Bond: In some jurisdictions, the defendant or a family member can offer the property to the court as a guarantee instead of cash. The court can seize the property if the defendant doesn’t show up in court.
Remember, the exact options and procedures can vary depending on local laws and the case’s specifics. Consulting with a legal professional can provide more guidance.
Can I get my money back from the bail bond?
If you paid the court, your money will be returned to you minus a few tiny court costs. Even if you appear in court on time, the money you paid the bail bondsman is a “service charge” for taking on the risk and handling the paperwork and process on your behalf.